Saturday, April 20, 2024

Retired Lewisville firefighter surprised with vow renewal

By Eric Morris

Denton County community members came together last week at the Hawthorn Hills Wedding Venue in Krum to honor retired Lewisville Firefighter Andy Allison with a surprise vow renewal and venue makeover for his wife.

Andy followed in his father’s footsteps and served briefly with the Lewisville Fire Department until 2012, when he suffered catastrophic injuries while responding to a house fire – injuries that would significantly impact him and his family moving forward.

However, this firefighter’s sacrifice was not forgotten.

A nonprofit organization, Spirit of a Hero, partnered with the home makeover series “Moving With The Military” to make a positive impact in the life of Andy and his family. Through countless hours of hard work and numerous volunteers, the Hawthorn Hills Wedding Venue, at which Andy’s wife Amanda is the venue director, was completely transformed and restored. To make things even more memorable, Andy and Amanda were able to renew their wedding vows in front of their loved ones in the newly updated space which means so much to their family.

Andy is the epitome of a public servant who is committed to the betterment of his community. On August 6, 2012, Andy responded to a house fire at a single-family residence. During the firefighting operation, Andy’s hose stream contacted a 220V electrical line.

Andy was electrocuted for several seconds before the surge finally stopped. The current going through his body was so intense that several of his teeth were driven through the jawbone. Additional injuries included frontal lobe damage, optic nerve burns, knee surgery, and spinal cord compression just to name a few. Through the efforts of nearly 15 doctors, Andy was able to regain much of his original vitality. Despite these physical improvements, Andy still feared for his family’s future.

Following the incident, Andy was nominated and later chosen as the Spirit of a Hero recipient for 2024. Founded in 2012 by Army Veteran Rick Turner, this nonprofit organization provides financial, developmental, and community support to veterans of the United States Armed Forces, first responders, front-line workers, and their families. In addition to becoming the 2024 Spirit of a Hero recipient, Andy’s incredible story also caught the attention of Maria Reed, founder of the popular series “Moving With The Military.” This series gifts extensive home makeovers to military and first responder families. Andy’s story of overcoming inspired immense community action and outreach from these impactful organizations.

Spirit of a Hero and “Moving With The Military” wasted no time coming to the aid of the Allison family. With Amanda serving as the venue director at Hawthorn Hills, a unique opportunity arose outside of the typical home renovation that usually takes place on the show. Maria commented on how the word “home” can have many different meanings to military and first responder families and the importance of making that space special.

With the stage set, sponsors such as Newrez, American Furniture Warehouse, Gant Granite, GCATS, Ace Décor, and Finishes, 84 Lumber Company, Knabe Woodwork, and more began to pour in and donate materials for the venue transformation. Volunteers worked tirelessly over a four-day period to completely transform the family business. Rick also commented how people “don’t even pay attention to all the hours of hard work because you know you’ll get to see their faces at the end.” Through diligence and dedication, “Moving with the Military” and Spirit of a Hero were able to deliver on their promises and surprise the Allison family with a gift that will last a lifetime.

Following the outpouring of volunteerism, it was finally time for the big reveal! The Allison family arrived on the property, escorted by both the Krum and Lewisville fire departments. After making their way down the main road that leads to the venue, the family was greeted by friends, family, and various volunteers who collaborated on the project. Also on scene was the 2015 Spirit of a Hero recipient, Omar Milan, who presented Andy with a handmade wooden American Flag.

As the family made their way through each of the freshly renovated rooms, a look of astonishment and thankfulness washed over their faces. After showing off the updated space, Andy and Amanda renewed their vows surrounded by their three young children in a touching, heartfelt ceremony.

Visit spiritofahero.org and movingwiththemilitary.tv to find out more. Andy’s complete story will be available through “Moving With The Military” in late March 2024. Episodes can be streamed on Apple TV, Roku, Amazone Fire TV, and, of course, VetStreamTV. Additionally, mark your calendars for The Spirit of a Hero Golf Tournament on April 15, 2024. The sponsors and volunteers want to thank everyone who made this project a reality for the Allison family.

Eric Morris is a communications specialist with the Community Relations Department at Denton County.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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