AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The bags are packed.
It’s almost time for Alan Babin and his parents to head out on another trip.
It’s not a vacation for the Babins, but something better. Honor Flight Austin, on Friday, will continue its mission to take veterans on a tour of military memorials.
Alan has seen the send offs and is excited to experience one first hand.
"I know it’s going to be really a joyful though,” said Alan Babin.
The trip is called the “Desert Warrior Honor Flight.” Alan is among 60 veterans scheduled to go. His escort-guardians for the trip will be his parents. "Yeah, pretty special. Alan may not know what to expect, but I have lots of tissues packed,” said Rosie Babin, Alan’s mom.
The Babins are a proud military family. They have all worn the uniform.
Alan was a Medic who served during the Iraq War. In the early days of the conflict he was shot while trying to reach a wounded soldier. he later survived a stroke, which makes it hard to speak. He refuses to let his condition destroy his spirit.
"You can’t give up, who wins when you give up? Definitely not you,” said Alan Babin.
Remaining active helps. He takes ski trips. Bikes. Is an avid fisher and hunter. Scuba dives. Does track and field and has started golf lessons. "He has every right to not have good days and Alan refuses to do that, His philosophy is, why survive the battlefield to sit at home."
Alan is also active in a veteran’s support called 22kill.
"I think we will be able to affect a lot of guy's lives,” said Alan Babin.
The group's name is taken from the number of suicides by veterans. At one point 22 were reported each day. The organization is sponsoring Friday’s Honor Flight. "The goal is to continue to create awareness. Alan's life is a testament to what staying engaged, staying active, staying in touch with those in the military and veteran’s community can do for you,” said Rosie Babin.
Alan currently lives in Lakeway. He shares a house with his parents.
From the street it looks like any other house, but like Alan, looks can be deceiving. The house was custom built by a foundation created by actor Gary Sinise. The family moved in about 2 years ago.
"This house represents independence. For Alan and for us,” said Rosie Babin.
In his room there are reminders of his days in the Army and gifts from those he has met while campaigning for support programs. The house is fully automated. With a hand held computer, lights are turned on. Shades lowered and doors opened. It’s one of more than 50 smart homes built by the foundation. For the Babins and veterans like them, it provides solid ground for their journey.