Local HS Football Team Helps Veteran Regain Freedom

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(November 3, 2013) On a flagpole, just below the love for his country waves the flag showing a hero's pride for the Mart football team.

"I still root for the team," said Dave as he laughed.

This glowing grandpa has worked hard for freedom.

Eighty-three-year-old retired Army corporal Dave Clark earned five bronze stars serving in Korea.

In December of 1950, he nearly lost his life while stranded in the bitter cold, all alone.

"We didn't have no decent clothing or footwear to wear," he said.

"You're out there in 40 below zero and no way to get in, you're going to freeze."

Dave was rescued, but the battle against his body continued.

His fragile legs, turn steps and his crumbling house into his prison.
"What I really wanted was some wooden ramps. That whole room was bad, the roof was bad, the floor was bad," he said.

"He went through a lot. I've been married to him 61 years and he's a good man," said Dave's wife.

Trapped in his home, the soldier in Dave refused to surrender. His daughter asked more than 30 contractors for help.

"It took me two or three days to contact everyone. And for one reason or another, they just couldn't help us," Dave's daughter Jenny Clay said.

With nowhere else to turn, they found help in Mart football coach Rusty Nail.

"That's how I was able to contact the Home Depot," Clay said.

"They gave us $15,000 through gift cards," Nail said.

"We realized they were everyone's mom and dad and it was time for us to step up and help out the family," said project manager Larry Seesing.

Once the money came in, coach Nail and his football team of volunteers worked, rescuing a hero and giving him the strength to stand.

"To come and be a part of this project and helped someone who risked their life for our freedom, this is the least we could do," Mart linebacker Collin Nail said.

They helped install hardwood floors, a new room and a ramp in and out of the house.

"We wanted to pay forward what he served and what he'd done for us years ago," Nail said.

And what they've done for him is made his house an ally and eased the pain.

"It just of numbed you. You didn't know what to say or think. It just, all I could think of was they're wonderful, very thoughtful people," Dave said.

"It's just wonderful," his daughter said.

After years of fighting, Dave finally has a place he can find peace.

"Home sweet home. Home sweet home," Dave said as he relaxed in his chair.