(WBIR) A national nonprofit organization that helps some of our most severely injured veterans is in East Tennessee for the first time.
Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) is building a house for a Jefferson County Marine. They broke ground Saturday afternoon in Dandridge.
"It takes awhile to soak in... you're like, is this really happening? I'm still to that point right now. It's finally starting to cement itself after this ceremony," said Sergeant Bradley Walker of White Pine.
Sgt. Walker lost both o
f his legs in an IED blast in Iraq in 2006.
"There are so many barriers being disabled in a home that's not made for disabled people. Anything from showering to just going through doors," he said.
His new home will address his disabilities and include more than 150 specially adapted features.
"We have wider doorways, wider hallways, powered doorways, roll-under counters and stove tops... they can roll into their shower, roll-under sinks," said Tim McHale, HFOT president and CEO.
Since 2004, the nonprofit has provided 165 homes to veterans in 38 states.
Sgt. Kenny Lyon moved into his custom made home more than three years ago. Lyon lost his leg while serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq. He met Walker during his rehabilitation.
"I was a Marine and I was stubborn. We can overcome a lot because adapt and overcome, that's what we do. But the fact is, you lost a limb or both or more and it's harder to do those things that you used to be able to do," Lyon said.
He went on to say, "There aren't words to describe how the home has changed... it's given me my life back."
Sgt. Walker's home will take crews roughly six months to build.
More than ninety cents of every dollar donated to HFOT goes directly to building the homes.