Army Specialist Sergio Lopez and his family now have a brand new home in Hillside. The home is suited to fit Lopez's needs as he undergoes rehabilitation after losing both legs in the war.
The people of Hillside, Plote Construction and numerous businesses, contractors, labor unions and individual contributors presented the home to Lopez, his wife Maria and their two daughters Sasha and Sofia at a dedication ceremony.
"Let us be proud as a community in helping someone who gave so much for us," said Joseph Tamburino, village of Hillside.
Five years ago, Lopez, who is from Joliet, was serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq on his second tour when he lost both of his legs in a roadside bombing. But the wounded warrior did not lose his spirit and will to live. What he needed was a home to accommodate his needs and his family.
The people of Hillside worked tirelessly to find people to sponsor the Hillside Disabled Home Project that resulted in a three bedroom, 2,600 square foot brick home that now belongs to the Lopez family.
"It is so unbelievable that everybody would come together and present us with this huge gift," said Lopez.
"I am very grateful...and very thankful," said Maria Lopez.
Hundreds of individuals worked for 86 days putting in more than 7,000 hours to complete the home. On Wednesday, all of the contributors received plaques and a personal thank you for their contributions.
Dan Plote of Plote Construction donated the lot and spearheaded the project.
"I'd like to say congratulations and wish the Lopez family good luck in their new home," said Plote.
"It is very relieving to know that there are still so many people with genuine good hearts," Lopez said.
Lopez showed his sense of humor when ABC7 asked him how he is getting along with artificial limbs after losing his legs.
"I did not lose 'em, I know where they are," he joked. "I actually have it easy compared to other amputees."
The halls and doorways and kitchen of the two-story home were built according to the guidelines of the American Disability Act to make it more accessible for the 28-year-old.
"When I get older and become wheelchair bound, I don't have to worry about things now," said Lopez.
Lopez and his family will move in Thursday. His children are already enjoying the playground in the backyard.
Lopez is attending a trade school and hopes to work in the automobile industry.