HOLLY SPRINGS — Zac Rhyner, a retired Air Force technical sergeant, became the newest resident of Holly Springs’ Twelve Oaks neighborhood on Friday.
Rhyner, 30, has limited use of his left leg after suffering a severe injury during an intense, six-hour battle in Afghanistan in 2008. The home, presented by national veterans’ aid charity Helping A Hero, is specially adapted to accomodate his needs.
For his bravery, Rhyner earned the Air Force Cross, the highest honor awarded by the Air Force. He is just the 192nd recipient of that award, according to Helping A Hero. A Wisconsin native, Rhyner was based at Fort Bragg and now has a wife and two young sons.
The towns of southern Wake County, between Fort Bragg and Raleigh, are home to a substantial military and ex-military population. Charities such as Helping A Hero and Operation Coming Home have together awarded more than a dozen homes to veterans in Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs.
Helping A Hero requires home recipients to cover about a fifth of the home’s cost, which is typically about $250,000. In exchange, the veterans have to commit to live in the homes for at least 10 years.
Rhyner’s is the fifth house Helping A Hero has awarded in North Carolina since the program began in 2006.