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Family receives new deck for Veterans Day
Father has spent 16 years in Army
Johnathan Bellinger, 5, son of Tim and Ann Bellinger, cuts the ribbon for his familys new deck, which was donated and constructed by volunteers with the Atlanta chapter of North American Deck & Railing Association, or NADRA, through the organizations Deck for a Soldier program. Tim Bellinger has served with the U.S. Army for 16 years. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Members of the Atlanta chapter of North American Deck & Railing Association surprised a soldier and his family with a new deck Monday at their north Forsyth home.

Tim Bellinger, who has served in the U.S. Army for 16 years, was chosen for the organization’s Deck for a Soldier program.

Bellinger’s wife, Ann, submitted an essay earlier this year detailing why she believed her husband deserved the new deck. Her submission was one of two selected nationwide for the annual program this year.

Keith Compton, president of the association’s Atlanta chapter, which includes about 50 member businesses, said he and several other volunteers spent all day Friday removing the family’s old deck and constructing the new one.

“We had 22 people here on Friday. We got here about 7 o’clock in the morning and we didn’t leave until after dark that evening,” he said.

Despite the long day, there were still a few things that needed to be finished up. So David Tibbetts, owner of Atlanta Decking & Fence Company Inc. in south Forsyth, took care of them on Saturday.

The Bellinger family — which includes children, Ashton, 20, Brooke, 15, Beau, 8, and Johnathan, 5 — all gathered for the ribbon cutting Monday.

All said they are looking forward to enjoying the new deck, which is about twice the size of the old one and now features a covered portion.

In addition, Home Depot in Cumming donated a grill for the family to enjoy.  

Tim Bellinger said he was humbled by the generous gifts.

“I can’t express enough how much this means to me,” he said. “And not just for me, but for my family and for the soldiers who come over to my house a lot. My wife will tell you that I have a lot of soldiers over here and before, we’d have some out here and some in the house. Now everybody can be out here together.

“It’s humbling to think that everybody would come together and do this for me and my family, so I can’t thank them enough.”