Workers transform house for Carpentersville man who lost legs while parasailing

Mark Rivera Image
Friday, August 10, 2018
Laborers transform house in 12 days for Carpentersville man who lost legs
EMBED <>More Videos

Northwest suburban Carpentersville has banded together after a Carpentersville man lost his legs in a tragic parasailing accident. The Local Carpenters Union, plumbers, electrician

CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwest suburban Carpentersville residents have banded together after a local husband, father and coach lost his legs in a parasailing accident. The Local Carpenters Union, plumbers, electricians and more completely remodeled his home in less than two weeks - just in time for him to come home.

About six weeks ago, Henry Owens took what was supposed to be a fun family parasailing trip in Myrtle Beach. He slipped into the water and his legs got caught in the boat propeller. Doctors had to amputate.

"When this first happened to us, we had no idea what we were going to do as far as our house, how we were going to get it modified," he said.

"How is he going to get into the house? How is he going to sleep because our bedroom is upstairs. How is he going to use the bathroom?" wondered his wife, Melloney Owens.

But after seeing ABC7's story on Henry's journey, organized labor got organized to help. The local carpenters union called first.

"Everyone knows what the right thing was to do is to help this individual that had a tragic accident, and at least put him in his own home to have some dignity living in his own home," said Keith Jutkins, vice president of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters.

They volunteered their time and coordinated all of the labor to make a ramp to the front door, widen interior doorways and convert a home office into a master bedroom, complete with an accessible bathroom and walk-in shower.

"The plumbers came through, electricians, sheet metal, people that put the drywall in, the painters, all just came in in shifts and got it done," Henry said. "I couldn't believe it. I really just couldn't believe it."

The transformation was completed over the course of only 12 days.

"Unbelievable. Just the outpouring of support from the community, from the laborers, from the contractors, just everybody. It's unbelievable," Melloney said. "It's tough. You know, we've had ups and downs but we both know that when it gets hard we have to be strong for our boys."

Henry said the family is determined to move forward. He's building up strength in his arms and core to be able to take his sons to school next week.

"I could have crawled up into bed and been sad about it, but it doesn't help me, it doesn't help my boys, it doesn't help my family," he said.