Marines help build home for disabled soldier

31 Oct 2013 | Cpl. Donovan Lee

More than a dozen Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River volunteered their time to help a service member in need through United Way of Onslow County’s initiative, Volunteer Onslow, Oct. 21 through Oct. 24.

Dereck Coble, a former Army infantryman was hit by an improvised explosive device during a deployment in Afghanistan and suffered a serious concussion. When he returned home, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Coble wanted to relocate to Jacksonville but could not work, therefore couldn’t find a home at the time.

Coble said the home he lives in now was given to him by the bank and was retrofitted for handicap accessibility.

“We are grateful for the home, because Dereck cannot work right now,” said Nina Coble, Coble’s wife. “However, when we moved in there was a lot of work to be done. The faucets in the showers and the sinks fell off, the walls weren’t painted well and the ramp out front was poorly built.”

The Marines and volunteers worked nearly eight hours a day completing tasks to include putting a flag pole in, building a new ramp in the front, cleaning up the landscape, painting rooms inside, putting in new ceiling fans and updating the bathrooms.

“We heard about the opportunity to volunteer and help a veteran renovate his house,” said Lance Cpl. Cameron Payne, a combat correspondent with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River. “As a Marine, it is our responsibility to take care of our fellow wounded service members.”
Coble said he was extremely grateful for all of the help, especially because Marines took the time to come out and help him.

“I didn’t expect all of this to be done,” said Coble. “I think it’s great that the Marines are out here helping me, and I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am.”

As a result of all the help Coble has received, he said his wife and he are going to try to volunteer as much as possible to help other people in the area.

For volunteer opportunities contact the United Way foundation at 347-2646 or