One by one, the Caskey family—Marine Staff Sgt. Josh Caskey, his wife Kelly, and their four children—emerged from the white limo that brought them to their newly remodeled home on Briarwood Lane in Cranberry.
With their backs to the house, and holding hands, the family counted to three before turning around together to get their first glimpse of the home improvements.
That’s when the gasping started.
With cries of “Oh my gosh!” the family shouted with happiness at the sight of the house, and that was before they even stepped inside.
“The house looks damn great, it really does,” Caskey said.
For the last five days, through a joint project of the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and Touchdown for Homes, a charitable outreach program of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Football League Players Association.
“This is more amazing than I could ever have imagined,” Kelly Caskey said. “We’re just so thankful and feel so blessed.”
A Purple Heart recipient, and a 31-year-old father of four, Caskey was injured five years ago while serving in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated not far from where he had just taken off his protective gear.
His injuries included a broken tailbone, a traumatic brain injury and hearing loss. In March, Caskey—whose brother, —was medically retired from the military. Just a few months later, Caskey’s family was chosen for the remodel.
While the family was aware that some improvements would be made to the home—which they moved into in April—they had no idea of the extent of the project, which included remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen, improving the grade of the front stairs leading to the home’s entrance and much more.
To keep the improvements under wraps, the Caskeys were whisked away for five days of pampering at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.
At Friday’s unveiling, they were greeted by family, friends, neighbors, volunteers and a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard that include retired, active and “poolie” members.
“I don’t even know what to say, this is so overwhelming, in a good way, to see all these people out here,” Caskey said as he spoke to the cheering crowd gathered outside the home.
Sgt. Jeff Consola, marketing and public affairs officer for the Marines recruiting station in Pittsburgh, said several Marines volunteered throughout the week on the home’s construction.
“In the Marine Corps, it’s more than just a job, it’s a family, it’s a brotherhood,” he said. “It’s our duty and it’s our responsibility and it is our honor to be part of project like this.”
Wearing a hardhat, Caskey’s military veteran father, Jerry Caskey of Pine Township, also pitched in on the remodel. He thanked the community for once again helping his family.
After Joseph Caskey was killed overseas, Jerry Caskey said supporters rallied around the family. In May, the in the North Hills in honor of the West View resident.
The Marines also performed a flag dedication ceremony Friday for a new flagpole installed in front of the Caskey house. In front of the clearing is a stone marker engraved with Caskey's name in honor of the day.
After the Caskeys privately toured their home, all volunteers were invited to a picnic at
Did you attend Friday's event? Is there a message or encouraging words you'd live to leave for the Caskey family? Tell us in the comment section below.