Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, February 18, 2018
oll-veteran_Aug11Army Sgt. Jude Recendez and Kelea Flynn, a member of the youth group at Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in New Milford, pose while the youth helps to build a home for the injured veteran in Fredericksburg, Va., in the spring. (Photo submitted)

NEW MILFORD – The youth group at Our Lady of the Lakes Parish takes the missionary spirit seriously.

Just back from helping to build a home for an injured Army veteran in Fredericksburg, Va., the group continued its monthly fund-raising efforts in the summer with the proceeds earmarked for a mission in Haiti.

The group comprises about 40 high school-aged teens and five youth ministers.

The group dubbed its work on the house of Army Sgt. Jude Recendez "Mission 2011." It was organized through Homes for Our Troops, a national nonprofit organization that helps injured members of the military. The organization has built over 100 homes for severely injured veterans at no cost to the soldiers or their families.

Sgt. Recendez lost both of his legs during a tour in Iraq in 2006. He married his wife, Kristine, in 2009. But, their apartment was difficult for the veteran to navigate in a wheelchair.

While the youth group raised $4,000 for its trip to Virginia through monthly fund-raising activities that ranged from bake sales to a skating party, it also solicited donations from the parish and community.

Sgt. Recendez and his wife took possession of the home on June 11, when a surprise wedding reception was held there to make up for the one they never had.

Homes for Our Troops provided materials and professional labor; the teens paid for their travel and volunteered a weekend to work on the house.

The youth group shares a portion of the funds it raises with a mission in Haiti that is building an orphanage, school and clinic for children.

June’s fund-raising effort was a plant sale.