Finally Home: Program helps local hero with new home in Arrington
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
In March, Air Force Staff Sgt. Luke Van Dorston, his wife, Abby and their two-year-old son Brooks will be handed the keys to a new home in the King’s Chapel community of Arrington through the national Operation FINALLY HOME program.
The Van Dorston family - Abby, Brooks and Luke breaking ground for their new home provided through Operation FINALLY HOME and Carbine & Associates. Photo by Carole Robinson
The program honors wounded and disabled veterans and widows of fallen soldiers with a new, custom-built, mortgage-free home.
SSgt. Van Dorston, a highly decorated 33-year old combat veteran with deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan joined the Air Force in 2002 “because of the 911 attack,” he said.
“I always thought I’d be in the military when I was a kid. As time progressed in the military, I enjoyed the job and was going to be a career combat controller, which is part of the Air Force Special Operations field.”
He worked directly with special tactical squadrons attached to Army Green Berets and Navy Seals, providing close air support and interface with ground forces.
Van Dorston, who was born and raised in Iowa, flew more than 140 combat missions, was involved in more than 64 direct action raids and directed 194 Close Air Support (CAS) missions.
He was a communications specialist deployed three times, once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.
For his valor, Van Dorston was awarded two Bronze Stars, one for valor and heroism in and out of hostile areas; for special missions, number of strikes and recoveries, he was awarded the Air Medal.
He was also awarded the Joint Service Achievement Award with gun stars.
In country, Van Dorston served at the Interservice Military Free Fall School where he trained hundreds of Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Allied Forces special operators.
In 2011, SSgt. Van Dorston was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery and treatment and is now in remission.
“I came to Tennessee because it is a central location between Abby’s family and mine,” he said. “We have friends and family in the area.”
The Air Force Care coordinator filed an application on behalf of the Van Dorston family, requesting a residence be constructed through Operation FINALLY HOME.
“It didn’t cross our minds we would get a home; we never thought it would happen,” he said.
But it did.
On Sept. 24, in a special ground breaking ceremony, Carbine & Associates began construction on the family’s home.
During the next few months the Van Dorstons will be busy picking out paint colors, cabinets, lighting and appliances.
Once settled into their home, “My wife would like to go back to work,” he said. “I’m mainly helping the people who helped me.”
He says that eventually he plans to enjoy the plentiful fishing and hunting opportunities Middle Tennessee has to offer—with his son.
Posted on: 11/8/2013