Vet Comes Home to a Changed World
Paralyzed in Iraq, soldier benefits from kindness of strangers By Bob Faw NBC Nightly News
"It's kind of overwhelming, I guess," he says.
Growing up, hunting in the
"It was hard for them to tell me he would be paralyzed, forever," recalls his wife, Kristi.
Just 21, with two children, Burleson was now a quadriplegic.
"I didn't do anything special," he says. "I just got shot."
But this winter, convinced Burleson is special, a group which relies on donations to build homes for severely wounded veterans began building a home for him.
"I think it's just important that we let them know we care about them," says John Gonsalves, president and founder of Homes for our Troops.
It was a labor of love. Local builders donated many of the building materials.
"He's not a hero for getting shot," says contractor Bob Simpson. "He's a hero for volunteering."
The windows were supplied by corporate sponsors. Shrubbery came from a local church group. All the furniture and granite were given in gratitude.
"[All] for somebody who's fighting for my freedom," says contractor Chas Caple.
They gave Kyle Burleson freedom to do more and be more than anywhere else imaginable.
"[I'm] grateful," says Burleson. "[It] makes things a lot easier."
"It's hard not to sit here and go, 'Wow, this is actually ours,'" says Kristi. "This is just 100 million good blessings, allotted into one."
Here, where a victim is also a beneficiary and the cruelty of war is partially offset by the kindness of strangers.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive