JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A rising star in country music held a free concert to raise money to build a home for a U.S. Marine who lost both his legs while serving overseas.
Most of the people who began filing into Latitude 30 as early as 10 a.m. Thursday didn't know who Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Hayes was before he was introduced onstage.
But for him, the free concert to raise money for him was almost overwhelming.
"It means so much to me because it is getting a house built for me, and I can't do that anymore and I'm not gonna be able to make enough money myself to do it," said Hayes.
In December 2010, Hayes lost both of his legs when he stepped on a roadside IED in Afghanistan.
Hayes spent months undergoing surgeries -- sometimes more than one a day.
But thanks to the group Home for our Troops, the Orange Park High School graduate doesn't have to worry about where his family will live.
"If it wasn't for organizations like this, for men and women who can't work and get a job to support a wife and three kids like I have, it's humongous. Words can't express how big it is," said Hayes.
His cause was helped by Scott McCreery, an American Idol winner and rising country music star, who took the stage to help bring in donations to build Hayes' house.
"Somebody that is willing to go out there and sacrifice what he has means the world to me and should to everyone else out there. We are just happy to be able to go out and sing for him and sing for the fans," said McCreery.
"To have a country music [star] say I'm gonna do a free concert for someone he doesn't know and isn't from the same town, it is just incredible," said Hayes.
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