Wounded Marine given home on Independence Day

July 5, 2012 8:45:50 AM PDT
The independence we celebrated on Wednesday is protected daily by thousands of servicemen and women. Now, one Marine is getting some independence of his own, thanks to the citizens of Tomball.

As we celebrate our independence, one young veteran is celebrating his freedom of movement, a freedom to perform everyday tasks as if he'd never been hurt.

Once a vacant lot, this land now symbolizes gratitude.

"To see it start today and to know that it's solidified is a big relief," LCpl. Daniel Peterson said.

It's the place strangers converge --- swing a hammer, spread sod and shake hands with the 22-year-old man who will live here.

"I'm gonna enjoy seeing him as a neighbor," neighbor Diane Goloby said.

Not just any neighbor; Daniel Peterson is LCpl. Peterson. He lost both legs in an explosion, while serving on his second tour in Afghanistan almost two years ago.

"When I was in the hospital, this was not in my future," Peterson said.

For months, we followed the progress of volunteers building the wounded marine a home to return to from the battlefield. Cub Scouts laid his lawn.

"He just fought for our country and that's something we should all care about," seven-year-old volunteer Justin Treichel said.

Others welcomed Peterson to the neighborhood by roofing, landscaping or feeding other volunteers.

"This is a great reward for him, and I want to be part of that," Goloby said.

Inside, everything is designed for Peterson's needs. With wider doorways and hallways, lower countertops, pull-out cabinets and his favorite part -- the user-friendly bathroom.

"The shower is huge! It's like, a shower you see at the gym," he said.

And, all this won't cost him a penny, thanks to a group called Homes for our Troops.

"As far as we're concerned, they've paid in full with their injuries," said Larry Gill with Homes for our Troops.

The work is personal for Gill, a two-time Purple Heart recipient.

"I can't take care of them on the battlefield anymore, so I can make sure they're taken care of in the aftermath," he said.

So as keys transferred hands to the new homeowner, the gratitude spread across this land is repaid.

"To know that there's Americans out there that not just say they support the troops, but actually act on that, " Peterson said.

To one man whose service kept the American dream alive.

"This is more than I even dreamed of," Peterson said.

The homes are not furnished, but the Cub Scouts raised thousands of dollars to buy furniture for Peterson.

To learn how you can help a veteran, go to homesforourtroops.org.


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