News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, Nov. 11, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- With the signing of a few documents, a quaint house became a home for retired Sargeant Kinga Kiss-Johnson. After the crowd left, News 12 sat down with Kinga, her husband and her dog Balta on a Veterans Day she'll never forget.
"I was born and raised in Romania, and I came to college here at Southwest Missouri State in Missouri," she said.
And then, after the tragic attacks on 9/11, she joined the United States Army.
"I got to Germany in 2006 and was deployed in 2007," Kinga said.
She was deployed into the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, where she drove in convoys. It was at Bagram Air Base that she was granted United States Citizenship. Also important to her was winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
"It's a war, but at the same time, we can see the good, too," she said.
But on the very day she became a sergeant was the day of the injury that ended her military career.
"Every day is hard. Every day is better than the other," she said.
After numerous surgeries to repair her back and brain, she found herself at the Eisenhower Hospital at Fort Gordon.
"I didn't know where I was coming to, and when you come in from overseas, you don't know. You have that uncertainty," Kinga said.
And times were tough for her.
"We thought that we would be homeless," she said.
But the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project helped her rent a home off Walton Way, and Friday, her lease was up. But an organization called Links Inc. bought the house and sold it back to Kinga for only $5.
Kinga couldn't hide her emotions as they finalized the paperwork, but now Balta and her husband will call Augusta home. She just hopes other veterans returning from overseas are given the opportunities she was.
"I could never say what was my home town. Now, probably I can say I'm from Augusta," she said with a smile.
Now, another very interesting thing about Kinga, while she was in the Veteran Curation Project, J.P. Morgan actually hired her and brought her to Atlanta to work on a very special project. To this day, she's part of a team archiving Dr. Martin Luther King's thousands of documents. It's all part of J.P. Morgan's project to put them all online, so everyone can enjoy them.