TODAY

TODAY   |  October 25, 2013

Vikings player answers military families’ prayers

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen never joined the military, but a USO tour to Iraq in 2009 inspired him to start Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors, a charity that builds and retrofits homes for wounded veterans.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> star jared allen can be a quarterback's worst nightmare. you guys are getting into this story, huh? i'm going to pretend i didn't see that. off the field, some military families are calling him the answer to their prayers and kristen dahlgren has that story.

>> good morning, guys. we have the popcorn and the banners and he says playing in the nfl is his life long dream but he would rather be remembered as a good man and for some deserving wounded warriors, that's all they see.

>> he may be admired by millions for bone crushing sacks but ask jared allen and he'll be the first to tell you, he's no hero.

>> we always get compared to a battle on the field. we play a game. we're not tough compared to them.

>> reporter: then it's the men and women of the u.s. military like allen 's brother and grandfather.

>> my grandfather was 23 years in the marine corps . korea, nam. i'm terrified of him. he can still beat me up.

>> reporter: while he didn't join the military, he did join a uso tour to iraq in 2009 . it changed his life.

>> it changed everything for me.

>> reporter: humbled by the sacrifice he knew he had to do something. he started jared allen 's home for wounded warriors.

>> where do i feel the safest at my weakest moment? where can i come, good day, bad day ? it's your home.

>> reporter: but what wounded veterans were coming home to were houses that couldn't accommodate their disabilities. he lost both his legs in iraq.

>> what's going to make the biggest difference for you?

>> the ability to get where i need to be and not have to worry about getting caught up on walls or corners.

>> reporter: now allen 's charity is retrofitting his house.

>> i didn't have the funds to expand outwards. so this will become the bathroom.

>> reporter: later this month homes for wounded warriors will break ground on a new home for colin who lost his leg and, with it, his independence.

>> no 22-year-old giuy that's been on their own for the last four years want to rely on mom or dad. i'll have 100% independence. it's a huge step.

>> he has dreamed of a house like this ever since he could walk and honestly when he got injured we all thought that dream went away. and thanks to jared allen , the dream is going to come true.

>> reporter: for allen , it's his dream coming true too. a chance to give back for all he has been given.

>> we have a much bigger responsibility than just being football players in this world.

>> by the end of the year he hopes to finish seven houses. the interesting thing, none of the wounded warriors thought they deserved this. they didn't think they were heros and allen doesn't think he is. i think they all are.

>> they all are.

>> thank you so much.

>> by the way, you can see jared in action sunday night when vikings take on the green bay packers , when?

>> sunday night, football night in america at 7:00 p.m . eastern here on nbc.