'This is the Lord's doing': Veteran, wife get new home through volunteer group

Published: May. 13, 2014 at 3:03 AM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2015 at 2:01 AM CDT
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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - No man left behind.

That military creed is a constant on the battlefield. And it's exactly what a Bossier veteran decided when he came across another veteran in need of help.

"I shared with him my experiences," explained Charles Brown, when talking about a chance meeting with another veteran at the local VA hospital.

Back in 2012, Brown was fending off homelessness. But with the help of the Overton Brooks VA Hospital and the Fuller Center for Housing, Brown got an entry level job at the VA. He also earned a new home through the Fuller Center's housing program.

His home was called 'Katy Build,' in honor of Airline High School student Katy Watkins, a tireless volunteer with Asbury United Methodist Church, who was killed in a 2006 accident along with two other students.

"This is what happened to me and this is what I want to happen to you," Brown sais he told Lonnie Carmack.

Brown says Carmack was frustrated and about to walk out of the VA.

"Out of frustration, he said, you people are taking too long. Man, I'm fixing to go do what I do," added Brown.

"I was through," said Carmack. "I was at the bottom of the barrel."

Carmack admits that chance meeting with Brown turned things around for him.

"God puts people in your life that you never expect. And he just so happened to be the person," said Carmack.

Fast forward a little more than a year or so, and now it's Carmack with an entry level job at the VA and a new home being built by volunteers from Bossier's Asbury United Methodist Church. His home is called 'Katy Build 2'.

"It's a blessing to have all these people out here. I mean, people I don't even know and never seen before," said a smiling Carmack last month when construction first began.

After convincing Carmack to stay at the VA and get the assistance he needed, Brown led him to the Fuller Center. And this past weekend, Lonnie Carmack and his wife Rosalyn were handed the keys to their home.

"Oh my," cried Rosalyn over and over again as she walked through her knew home for the first time.

"Oh I just love it," exclaimed Rosalyn. "You like my house?"

The Carmacks now live right next door to the Browns, on a corner that is now called "Katy's Corner."

"I never knew from that encounter that it would lead here," said Brown, talking about running into Carmack in the halls of the VA hospital.

"This is the Lord's doing."