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Colorado Gold Star family receives new deck

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Susan Brodeur sometimes hesitates to ask for help.

“That’s just not me. I’ve always been taught to take care of myself, to rely on myself,” she said. “And we do that together as a family.”

But she desperately needed a new deck.

“It was rotting,” said Tom Hall of Hall Family Handyman in Colorado Springs. “Stairs were not up to code. Neither was the deck itself. It had just gone beyond the point of repair and needed to be replaced.”

Replacing an entire deck isn’t cheap, and Mrs. Brodeur said 2020 has been a tough year. “It seems like every appliance--hot water heater, stove, microwave, the dishwasher, the washer and dryer--has pretty much taken every penny of extra money that we have. And the deck was literally falling apart.”

That’s where the Military Survivor Foundation comes in. The organization partnered with Hall to provide the Brodeur family with a new, safe deck, free of charge.

The deck extends from the back of the house. But in front of the house, hanging over the porch, is a white flag with a red trim and a gold star embroidered in the middle. It’s a flag nobody wants to own.

On April 27, 2011, Air Force Maj. David Brodeur was killed in action in Afghanistan.

"The team came to my door and they informed me that in the Kabul airport, we lost nine,” Mrs. Brodeur recalls. “My husband was shot once and got back up again after he protected the interpreter--an Afghani interpreter--and got up and traveled quite a few feet up some stairs to try to stop [the shooter]. Because David was big. He tried to stop him and was shot two more times and was killed.”

Maj. Brodeur graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1999. His dream was always to be a pilot, and that’s what he did. After he died, Maj. Brodeur was remembered as an “awesome” pilot who flew F-16s and a man who was “truly liked by everybody.”

Air Force Maj. David Brodeur

Maj. Brodeur’s call sign was “Klepto,” as in kleptomaniac. “It was because he loved me so much he would lie, cheat, steal, or kill for me,” his wife explained.

Hall was grateful to help replace the Brodeur’s deck.

“When I come up to a house and I see the Gold Star, it lets me know that somebody in that family has given the ultimate sacrifice. That means that the people that are left probably could use a hand,” he said. “I was an active duty Guard and Reserve, so we treat each other like family. And it’s important to take care of them.”

“This would’ve been the house that my husband would’ve picked out,” Mrs. Brodeur said. “And he would have been able to build that deck.”

Tom Hall of Hall Family Handyman builds the Brodeur's new deck.

Mrs. Brodeur said she wasn’t familiar with the Military Survivors Foundation when they reached out to her. “I did not even know they existed,” she said.

“It’s a simple accomplishment, but one that makes a big difference in the lives of one local family who has paid the ultimate price for our country’s freedom,” the organization said.

Approaching Thanksgiving and the holiday season, Mrs. Brodeur said she is thankful for all the help she and her two children have received.

“I’m thankful for all the people in the Air Force that have supported us,” she said. “I think most of all I’m thankful to God that I have these two, because I couldn’t do it without them.”

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