Pitching in for a Veteran
COLUMBIA — The national organization "Homes For Our Troops" and the Missouri Credit Union Association registered volunteers at Lowe's Tuesday to help build injured Missouri veteran Robert Canine a handicap-accessible house.
The two groups solicited people to sign up to offer labor, supplies or any other form of help for building Robert's home.
"What we're trying to do is engage the community, bring in trades, general contractors, sub contractors, and really put together the team that will help build the home for Robert," Doreen Lewis "Homes For Our Troops" Project Facilitator said.
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Canine, a native of Mexico, Mo., lost both his legs during his second stint in Iraq in May when an Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) blasted his vehicle. Robert is rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. while his mid-Missouri community works to build him a handicap-accessible home to come back to.
Robert's brother Jamie Canine said a handicap-accessible home would mean everything to Robert.
"Being able to get under the bathroom or the kitchen counter, being able to get his wheelchair around the corner in a wide hallway, getting the opportunity to read to his son in bed, all of the things that really matter," Jamie said. "Eliminating all of the little frustrations that go along with an injury like this just increases quality of life day-to-day in a dramatic way."
Robert's new specially adapted home will have wider hallways, roll-in showers, roll-under stove-tops and sinks, as well as walk-in closets. "Homes For Our Troops" has built 50 homes throughout the country since it began in 2004, but this will be their first project in Missouri.
"Every time we talk to people about how many homes we've built, they're just blown away," Lewis said. "And that's really about communities, people like you and I just chipping in together doing this for our veterans."
The Missouri Credit Union Association has worked as the title sponsor for "Homes For Our Troops," and pledged to raise $100,000 to build Robert's home in Mexico, said Halley Hayden, Director of Communication for the Missouri Credit Union Association.
"[Robert's] just a great man. He's given so much to our country and everyone's just so happy to give something back to him," Hayden said.
The next step in the process will be finding a general contractor for the house, according to Hayden. There is no timetable for when the house will be completed.
Jamie Canine is more than grateful for the support his brother has received.
"The list is endless, who I'd like to thank," Jamie said. "Even the individuals who are donating five dollars on the website. There can't be enough support for these guys in efforts like this. So I want to extend that gratitude to them."