Family of injured vet receives home

By LEAH SMALL | The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va. | Published: August 3, 2013

PETERSBURG, Va. - An injured veteran and his family have been given a new start by six local, state and regional groups who came together to restore and grant them a home. The organizations gathered with three generations of the Lucas family for the home's ribbon cutting Thursday.

Jarred Lucas was injured by an explosive device in Iraq a few years ago, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The injury caused him to lose his sight and have daily seizures. He, his wife Marie, and their 1-year-old son have lived in his parent's mobile home since they moved back from Hawaii, where Jarred was receiving treatment. He is hesitant to disclose the year of his injury due to safety concerns.

Marie Lucas was almost in tears as she thanked all those gathered.

"I am glad that I have a community behind me so I can support my husband at this time," she said.

The multi-agency effort included Pathways, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Veteran Services, Homes for the Hearts Inc. and the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program.

Bermuda Hundred United Methodist Church donated furniture and household items to the couple. Previously, all the couple had were two couches. Now they have a full nursery and other essentials.

Jarred Lucas recognized the good will of the group.

"In the course of modern history, it is all too uncommon to have things like this, to have people helping each other," he said.

The gift reminded Lucas of his team leader in Iraq, whom he quoted to those gathered:

"If I can do right by you, maybe you can do right by someone else ... then it might get bigger," he said.

Following the ribbon cutting, Marie Lucas shared how the couple felt when they arrived to see the furnishings. They had no idea they would be receiving anything other than the house.

"It was a total shock. I didn't know the programs would go above and beyond," she said.

Marie Lucas was overwhelmed with gratitude. She paused to find her words when explaining what the house and everything in it meant to her family.

"It's the best feeling that I've felt in a long time," she said. "With living on a military post, you have community, but when you get out you have none. But this community has given us a gift. We can't say thank you enough."

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