Volunteers build house for wounded veteran
The (Scranton, Pa.) Times-Tribune
SCOTT TWP., Pa -- Former Army Staff Sgt. Earl Granville was risking his life in remote areas of Afghanistan during his third military deployment overseas four years ago when a roadside bomb explosion threw him from his vehicle and into a ditch, knocking him unconscious. He survived, but his left leg didn't.
Mr. Granville, 28, now uses a prosthetic leg to walk. A member of the USA Warriors Sled Hockey Team, he stays active and focused on moving forward with his life, even completing a marathon on a hand bike.
But at home, he would like to relax and have options of using a wheelchair and crutches to move around. Walking up and down stairs in his Old Forge apartment isn't convenient.
Through the nonprofit organization Homes for Our Troops, state and local builders associations and local volunteers, Mr. Granville's future home in Scott Twp. will be specially adapted for him.
As Mr. Granville and other people raised a wooden frame Friday on the foundation of what will be his new home, he said he felt spoiled by hundreds of volunteers, friends, fellow soldiers and family who showed up to lend a hand.
The Massachusetts-based group has completed 112 homes for severely wounded veterans in 37 states, said Larry Gill, veterans liaison.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provide about $63,000 to adapt homes for wounded veterans, but new homes built through Homes for Our Troops cost about $330,000, Mr. Gill said. The Homes for Our Troops helps wounded veterans with better living accommodations and also gives local communities a way to thank soldiers for their service.
Ken Kurtz, whose building company prepared the foundation for the house, said he felt honored to help.
"I'm just a small-time builder, but one thing I love is my freedom," Mr. Kurtz said. "You're never going to have freedom without these guys."
Wearing gloves with the word "love" printed on them, Mr. Granville spent much of Friday shaking hands and thanking people who celebrated the construction of his new home.
A marching band performed at the building site Friday, while area fire and police officials, elected leaders and many volunteers gathered to show support for Mr. Granville.
"I can't thank you enough," he told people during a program before volunteers began working.
With his daughter, Alexandria, living in Carbondale and other family living nearby, Mr. Granville said he will be "in the middle of everybody."
Enrolled in college, Mr. Granville plans to work as counselor to help returning veterans cope after returning from overseas. Described by friends as always positive, Mr. Granville looks forward to continuing to volunteer and grow closer to his family. "I just want to give back," he said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services