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Buffalo News, NY: Iraq Veteran's House Gets a Makeover PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Hayden   
Sunday, 06 July 2008 00:00
Mark and Denise Beyers

Mark and Denise Beyers show off the new master bathroom in their Wales home, which was retrofitted to give it better wheelchair access for the Iraq War veteran. Charles Lewis/Buffalo News
07/06/08 06:44 AM


Iraq veteran’s house gets a makeover


When Marine Lance Cpl. Mark Beyers first moved into his Town of Wales home last year, routine activities such as showering, cooking and leaving the house were almost impossible.

Not anymore. Beyers’ home recently was retrofitted by Homes for Our Troops, a national nonprofit organization based in Taunton, Mass., that finances the construction and re-configuration of 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 Saturday, is the first in the state to be completed by the nonprofit agency and came at no financial cost to Beyers. A second home in the Syracuse suburb of Marcellus will be completed soon.

Beyers proudly showed off the improvements, which include a new master bedroom and bathroom with a wheelchair-accessible shower. The house now features counters adapted to wheelchair height, widened doors and wheelchair- accessible entrances.

The lower counters will allow Beyers to more easily prepare food. The yard was elevated with fill to eliminate steps to the front door, and the deck now has a ramp.  

Beyers, who walks with the aid of a prosthetic leg, toured the ranch house with his wife, Denise, at his side.

Denise Beyers said she already notices the differences the renovations have made for 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 to be either built or retrofitted by Homes for Our Troops, which was founded in early 2004.

Kirt Rebello, the nonprofit’s vice president and chief projects officer, said that about 25 more homes will be completed by the end of this year. Donations finance each project.

“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 or 3,000 injured veterans qualify for the nonprofit’s work.

Homes for Our Troops assists amputees, victims of traumatic brain injuries, quadriplegics, paraplegics and others.

After a ceremony, which included the Pledge of Allegiance, the Marine Corps Color Guard and a letter of gratitude from Gov. David A. Paterson, Mark invited family and friends to his redone house for a backyard barbecue.

His mother, Tricia Beyers, said that not enough people know about the nonprofit. “It means the world because he means the world to me,” she said.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 November 2008 03:59 )