Free home for wounded Iraq vet
FLORENCE, N.J. -- A motorcycle escort preceeded retired Marine Staff Sgt. Andy Robinson and his wife Sara as they arrived to accept the keys to their new home on 5th Street in Florence.
In 2006 Andy was paralyzed from the chest down by a roadside bomb that exploded in Iraq. Knowing the challenges he faces, the non-profit group Homes for Our Troops, which constructs housing for severly wounded veterans, set about building the Robinsons a house.
"A lot of them are fighting and dying and coming home injured," said John Gonsalves of Homes for our Troops. "Why can't we give up a little time back home? We need to show we support them and care about them."
Using a grant from the Injured Marines Fund and donations of money and materials, an army of volunteers worked over the last 6 months to build the house.
"Cops, firemen, and construction workers came down and worked on this home over the course of three days, build the entire exterior of the home," said Bill Keegan of Heart 9/11.
The house is completely adapted to Robinson's needs: automatic doors,an elevator, and a hi-tech lift system that will be able to carry Robinson from the bedroom into the bathroom and back.
"It means just more independence and the ability of me to live a regular life," Robinson said.
"It'll make it a lot better for both of us," said Andy Robinson's wife Sara. "I'm just really excited, so 'Thank you' to everybody."
There was an emotional ceremony attended by family, friends and volunteers before the Robinsons got the keys to their home.
"This house is a wonderful testament to how great this community is, and how much our country loves our service members," Andy Robinson said.
Andy and Sara actually move in Tuesday.
They hope to start a new life and a family in a home quite literally made for them.