COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A group of current and former Army Rangers are putting in some long hours this week by helping to remodel the home of a Gold Star mother in Colorado Springs.
Scoti Domeij lost her son Kristofffer during the war in Afghanistan nearly 10 years ago.
Her home needed some help, and Kristoffer's brothers in arms stepped up to help in a big way.
"We are going to do an extreme home makeover in 10 days, and we are on day 3," said Jeremy Ferranti, a contractor, and former Army Ranger.
The men are replacing the driveway, adding a ramp to the front door, installing new landscaping, windows, a deck, and painting the home.
"We would do dishes if they'd let us," he joked.
These improvements won't just make Domeij home prettier, but also more functional. Domeij is the primary caretaker for her 90-year-old mother and also works with a non-profit that serves seniors from her home.
"My brothers and I and my friends and colleagues are here to look after his family and to look after this gold star," Ferranti said.
Kristoffer was an Army Ranger who'd enlisted after high school in 2001. He died as a result of an IED attack in Kandar in October of 2011. It was his 14th deployment.
"Pretty much every SpecOp Ranger that you meet will wear a black bracelet, that is one of the first gifts you're given when you arrive at your Ranger battalion," Ferranti explained. "And you're job and responsibility is to learn everything there is to know about a person that is no longer walking amongst us today."
One of the bracelets he wears has Domeij's name on it. While the home improvements are a labor of love, Ferranti said he hopes the community can better appreciate the sacrifices that Gold Star Families have made in service to our country.
"When you drive by a house and you see a gold star, it's not just like it's a star in the sky," he said. "Maybe take pause and come to realize what that might mean."
Ferranti and the others are doing this work out of their own generosity. However, it is expensive to purchase all of the building materials and to rent the equipment needed to finish the job.
An online fundraiser has been set up to help pay just those costs for those in the public who are interested in contributing.