Coach Mark Richt Pays Visit to Wounded Veteran

Captain Nelson and company posing for a photo

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt meeting with Captain Nathan Nelson.

February 12, 2017

By Special to the Daily News

Story and Photos online at Northwest Florida Daily News Here:

In a gesture of kindness on his way to be the keynote speaker at the annual All Sports Association Banquet at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Friday, University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt paid a visit to a wounded veteran, Capt. Nathan Nelson. Nelson is a Building Homes For Heroes recipient of a new home being built by Randy Wise Homes in Santa Rosa Beach.

Purple heart decorated and a retired USAF Intelligence Officer, Nelson was severely injured four years ago while serving his third combat deployment to Afghanistan when Taliban forces fired a rocket which impacted feet from Nelson. The blast broke some of his vertebrae which resulted in paralyzation at the C-7 level and he is wheelchair-bound.

Today, after significant rehabilitation, Nelson is physically active, healthy and on the go in the community. In fact, he was recently appointed by U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz to serve as the Deputy Director for Military Affairs for the 1st Congressional District of Florida that encompasses Walton County to Escambia County.

“It was an honor to spend some time with Coach Richt,” Nelson said. “He has such a positive spirit and his generosity in the communities he has been involved with are impressive. Just like Coach Richt expressed, resiliency and faith is key to success. My life now is part of that plan and it is my intent to share my story and faith with others.”

According to Randy Wise, owner of Randy Wise Homes, “This is the third Building Homes For Heroes home we have built. We donate our time and are the builder of record to lead the charge in completing Nathan”s home in Driftwood Estates in Walton County. The home has just been permitted and we”re about to begin construction with an estimated completion of next fall with a move-in ready home for Nathan, his wife and 3-year-old daughter.”

“Though there is some subsidy towards the cost of the home at the national level of Building Homes For Heroes, and we have raised some monies locally, we are seeking an additional $100,000 towards the costs of the home,” said Larry Fowler, BHH Development Coordinator for the Florida Panhandle. “We are actively soliciting cash contributions, as well as in-kind donations of labor and materials for this worthy cause.”

Since 2006, Building Homes for Heroes has been at the forefront of making a significant difference in the lives of wounded American service members and their families. The organization gifts mortgage-free homes that meet the needs of the men and women who have selflessly served our country. These homes not only help to remove the family”s financial burden, they help to restore the individual”s freedom, and enable the veteran to lead a more independent and productive civilian life.

For further information, to make a donation, an in-kind donation, or to volunteer, call Larry Fowler at 850-502-8908, or email


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