Hero Home to be built for Iraq veteran

March 31, 2011 4:45:48 AM PDT
Five years ago, Sergio Lopez of Joliet lost both his legs while serving the U.S. Army in Iraq.

His vehicle was blown apart by a roadside bomb. Today, he and his family broke ground on a new home, a Hero Home, in Hillside. Lopez, his wife, and two daughters will live in a home given to them by the people of Hillside and other groups around the Chicago area.

"It's the least that we can do is to welcome him to our community. Get him going in a way that he and his family aren't going to have to worry," Joe Tamburino, mayor of Hillside, said.

"I'm too excited for words. It's awesome. I can't wait," Lopez said.

Politicians, businesses and private citizens all came together to thank the wounded warrior. Plote Construction is one of the main forces behind the project. They'll be building the three-bedroom, 2600-square foot brick home.

"The home will probably be worth anywhere from $350,000 to $400,000 when it's complete," Adam Neisendorf, Plote Construction, said. "Everything is free."

"This will be known forever to the residents of Hillside as Hero Home. That's what this will be called Hero Home," Mick Yauger, Teamsters Local Union 786, said.

For the hero himself, who was chosen by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to receive the home, it's all about gratitude.

"Thank you so very, very much from the bottom of my heart for myself and for my family. Thank you so much," Lopez said.

The new home will, appropriately, be ready July 4.