Marine, injured in Iraq, gets new home

November 10, 2009 3:15:02 PM PST
Wednesday is Veterans Day, and on Tuesday, a Marine from New Jersey received a special gift. An injury in Iraq left him in a wheelchair. Now, he has a house that allows him to feel right at home. A hero's welcome greeted Marine Corporal Visnu Gonzalez. During an emotional ceremony in Hillsdale, Homes for Our Troops founder John Gonsalves handed him the keys to a new, custom-built, specially adapted home for the 26-year-old veteran, who knows what he plans to do first.

"Just put up my big screen TV and hook up my computers and everything," he said.

Five years ago, while serving in Iraq, a sniper's bullet severed Gonzalez's spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

A wireless multi-functional remote, an elevator and handicap-accessible doors are just a few of the modifications designed to make life just a bit easier for Gonzalez and his mother.

"We have a lift and care system," Gonsalves said. "He can use that to get in and out of his chair, into the bed. It'll help him in the shower, which is a wide open room."

And it's more than just a place to live and more than a place to rest. The new home gives back to Gonzalez something he had as a Marine, but lost when he was injured - his independence.

"He doesn't need other people to cater to him," mother Maria Gonzalez said. "He will be able to open sinks, go through doors, come up and down, be with me if he just wants to hang around with me."

The four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home took six months to build and would normally cost about a million dollars to own. But for this veteran, it is a mortgage-free token of gratitude for his dedicated service to our country.

"Thank you very much for everything," Gonzalez said.

Actually corporal, thank you.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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