Iraq war amputee gets a new home

May 21, 2010 (PLAINFIELD, Ill.)

Army specialist Frank Pierson lost both legs in Iraq.

Getting around is a challenge for him, but he will soon be living in a house built to help him be self-sufficient.

Despite the rain Friday, dozens of volunteers grabbed hammers and drills to help build a future for a soldier and his family trying to cope with the wounds of war.

Pierson and his wife Arielle Carroll took their first steps inside what will be their future home.

"We welcome you to your new home and we hope that you have many years of happiness and joy," said Larry Archer of Homes for Our Troops.

The house will be a welcome change to the 100-year-old home the couple has been sharing with their in-laws for the past six months.

"I can be fully independent by myself - I'm not gonna have to wait for someone to come home and help me out," said Pierson. "It's definitely going to be a big change."

Pierson lost both of his legs four months into a tour in Iraq.

He wears prosthetics, but he also uses a wheelchair, something that has been a challenge in his present home.

"It's really hard for him because he has to watch where he's going, and all the stairs we have," said Carroll.

When their dream home is completed, it will have wide hallways to accommodate the wheelchair and electronic door openers.

The house is being built by Homes for Our Troops, and on Friday, some military brothers pitched in.

"Through volunteerism through donations is where we like to start, and then we also have corporate sponsorships and then we just come out into the area we secure the general contractor - they donate their time," said Archer.

The Piersons also received a special housewarming gift: a handmade blanket from Calico Quilters.

"The reason we founded Operation Welcome You Home was to make sure all of our soldiers and marines that come home from deployment and serve our country and give their lives every day - to make sure they are not forgotten," said Donna Morsovillo of Operation Welcome You Home.

So far, Homes for Our Troops has given keys to 57 severely wounded veterans, and 40 more homes are in the works.

The projects are paid for entirely by the community.

Construction on Pierson's house will continue throughout the weekend. By Monday, they are hoping to have the shell of the house done, including the roof and windows.

"I don't really know what else to say other than 'thank you,'" said Pierson. "There's not really a whole lot of words that can describe what everybody is here to do."

The goal is for the home to be completed in three months.

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