Injured soldier gets new home Saturday
MIDDLEBORO — Homes For Our Troops, a non-profit organization in Taunton that works to build and donate specialty homes for disabled veterans, will officially complete construction of a home for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Downing in a public ceremony this Saturday.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. at the Downings' new home at 115 Marion Road and will include several presentations by HFOT as well as military personnel and a tour of the home before the keys are handed to the Downings. The ceremony should last about 90 minutes.
Staff Sgt. Downing was injured in September 2008 while serving in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device was detonated near his vehicle, requiring the amputation of both legs at the knee. His new home will be handicapped-accessible.
The completion of the Downing home was faster than usual for the organization, which has completed or begun work on 50 other homes for veterans nationwide.
Project facilitator Doreen Lewis-Hout said the project, for which construction really began in earnest just a few months ago, was among "the top five" in terms of how quickly the house came to fruition.
"The house is pretty much done; we're just waiting for the key ceremony and we'll do a final cleanup on Friday just to make sure everything is spotless," Ms. Lewis-Hout said in a phone interview.
Ms. Lewis-Hout credited the work of Middleboro contractors General Contractor Dominic and Matthew Falconeiri of Falconeiri Construction for overseeing the project and ensuring the home was built at a brisk pace.
"The general contractor that was overseeing things kept things moving very smoothly," Ms. Lewis-Hout said of the project's speedy completion. "It's been a little quicker than what we expected."
She also singled out a group of students from Billerica who raised funds for the project as part of their commitment to the Delta Epsilon Chi organization, also known as DECA, an international educational organization for high school and college students focused on careers in business.
"We've had a great group of kids from Billerica, the DECA team; this was their national competition project," added Ms. Lewis-Hout. "They're competing nationally and that's pretty neat-everyone's come together to get this done."
The whole project is the result of a large group of donors and businesses contributing toward the project, with goods and services supplied from local businesses in Middleboro, Lakeville, Brockton, Taunton, Abington, Hull, and other communities around New England according to HFOT's website.
The home is specially designed to facilitate everyday activities for Staff Sgt. Downing and his wife and children, allowing for easier mobility, more accessible facilities, and a single-floor plan.
For more information about Michael Downing and the home we're building for him, please visit his project page!