Iraq veteran finds his home more hospitable thanks to retrofitting by Homes for Our Troops
When Marine Lance Cpl. Mark Beyers first moved into his town of Wales home, daily activities such as showering, cooking food and leaving the house were almost impossible.
Beyer's home recently was retrofitted by Homes for Our Troops, a national nonprofit that builds and reconfigures homes for disabled veterans.
Beyers, who lost an arm and a leg to a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in 2005, said he is grateful for the life-changing alterations made to his house.
"It's like watching Extreme Home Makeover," Beyers said. "I can't believe they did this for me."
His house, dedicated in a ceremony today, is the first in New York State completed by the nonprofit and came at no financial cost to him. Beyers proudly showed off the improvements, which include a new master bedroom and bathroom with a roll-in shower, roll-under countertops, widened doors and wheelchair accessible entrances. His yard was even elevated to eliminate steps to his front door.
It's been a long road for Beyers, who while on patrol in Iraq bore the brunt of an I.E.D explosion that forced amputation of his arm and leg. In the days and weeks following, he was in an induced coma and had numerous surgeries. Before his home was retrofitted, he was forced to hop around where ever he went; now, life is much easier.
His wife Denise said she could already notice the difference in her husband.
"You can see such a relief in his face to be able to do more things for himself," she said. "It's just wonderful."
The Wales house is the 28th either built or retrofitted by Homes for Our Troops, founded in early 2004. Vice president Kirt Rebello said that 25 more homes will be completed by the end of this year.
"The bottom line is that we have severely injured vets coming back from conflict," Rebello said. "We don't want their homes to feel like a prison to them."
Rebello estimated that about 2,000 to 3,000 injured veterans across the country qualify for the nonprofit's work. Homes for Our Troops assists amputees, victims of traumatic brain injuries, quadriplegics, paraplegics, and others.
"These injuries are life altering," Rebello said. "It's the least we can do for them."
Mark's mother, Tricia Beyers, said that not enough people know about the nonprofit. She doesn't focus on the past, but rather on the new beginning for her son.
"It means the world because he means the world to me," Tricia said.