Wounded Marine Veteran given a specially-adapted home
Updated On: Mar 02 2013 07:10:00 PM EST
He lost both of his legs serving our country. But Saturday, the community came together to thank Marine Master Sgt. John Hayes and celebrate his brand new home.
Channel 4's Kumasi Aaron was there as the Marine and his family entered their home for the first time.
With the snip of a ribbon, Hayes was finally able to open the door to his new St. Augustine home.
Surrounded by his wife and daughters, he made his way though the three bedroom two bathroom gift made possible by the group Homes for our Troops.
IMAGES: Former marine given new home
"It's not something that fits most people and then they kind of wedged us in there. It perfectly fits us. And it is humongous. It is so big for us," said Hayes.
The home is a far cry from the hospitals the family spent months in as Hayes underwent surgeries and rehab after losing both legs when he stepped on a buried IED in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan.
"We can call this place home that this is stable. You don't know the sense of weight off my shoulders feeling that's really going on right now," said Hayes.
The house won't cost Hayes anything because of donations and he says it took him a little while to get used to the concept.
"Being a Marine and a husband who used to provide by himself to be able to take any handouts or gifts is but homes for our troops and general contractor Paul has made it so easy and so smooth. And it's not charity it's not a handout it's like hey, we want you to live here and we want you to live the best life you can," Hayes.
Hundreds came out celebrate with the Hayes family and honor his service.
It started with a motorcycle escort from Ademec Harley Davidson to the Hayes new home where he was greeted by the patriot guard, before he received his keys.
The beautiful home took about five months to create and everything was built with Hayes in mind; from the lower counter tops, to the microwave.
Everything in kitchen is made for easy access. Including the drop down cabinet shelves, and the roll over sink and stove.
Homes for our Troops spokeswoman Dawn Teixeira says it's all about dignity.
"We're happy to say the homes provide freedom and independence for our veterans, and what that means is when they're in a wheelchair he can access any part of the home at any time," said Teixeira.
One of Hayes' favorite parts of the home was a lifting care system that he can use to go from his bedroom to the bathroom independently.
"The fact that there's a track system that takes me from my bed to so no matter, not now because I'm a little stronger I can do a little more but maybe 10 or 20 years down the road arthritis sets in or whatever, we're set up for that," said Hayes.
Hayes says he never expected anything when he left the hospital. and his brand new home, and new life, is more than he could have asked for.
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