Actor works to build new home for local injured marine

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Marine Cpl. J.B. Kerns

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ARARAT, Va. -- A movie star is helping a local wounded marine in adjusting to his new life back home.

Cpl. J.B. Kerns, 21, of Ararat, Va., lost both of his legs and an arm in an IED explosion during his third tour in Afghanistan.  This week, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation and Wounded Warrior Organization, founded by actor Gary Sinise, heard about the injured marine and wanted to offer a helping hand in his road to recovery.

“Let me tell you something J.B.  We are going to build you a beautiful home. Yes... you better believe it,” Frank Siller with the SSTTF said.

The two groups now aim to build the injured veteran a house in an open hayfield in his hometown of Ararat.  Kerns picked the spot himself.

“It’s a beautiful spot.  Where the house is going to be is up on a hill and it goes down and the river is back there it's a beautiful spot,” said Kerns, who turns 22 next week.  “The main thing is a wraparound porch -- that's the main thing.”

Sinise is best known for his roles as Lt. Dan in ‘Forest Gump’ and Detective Mac Taylor in ‘CSI: New York.’  His 'Lt. Dan Band' will host a concert to raise money toward the construction cost of Kerns’ home.

The concert, for which tickets cost $25, is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 31 at Martinsville Speedway.  Tickets can be purchased at Piedmontarts.org by clicking here or by calling (276) 632-3221.

“He’s going to be in this condition for the rest of his life and it’s a matter that we need to support him,” said one Patriot Rider who was among the rest honoring Kerns at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday.  “We’re here to honor him for what he did.  It’s a feeling that... It’s just hard to put it into words to be honest with you.”

Kerns home is among a dozen that the two organizations are building this year for injured veterans.

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