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The Denver Post, CO: Army of Volunteers Builds House for Vet PDF Print E-mail
Written by Annette Espinoza   
Sunday, 22 June 2008 00:00

Army of volunteers builds house for vet

A double amputee from the Iraq war and his family get a new home in a weekend.

By Annette Espinoza
The Denver Post
 

Article Last Updated: 06/22/2008 11:30:06 PM MDT

 Travis Strong

Misty and Travis Strong, a double amputee from the Iraq war, discuss their new home in Golden as Kirt Rebello, vice president and chief projects officer for Homes for Our Troops, listens Sunday. (Evan Semon, Special to The Denver Post )

 

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Strong moved out of Colorado when he was a young boy and dreamed of the day he would return. His dream became a reality as he watched scores of volunteers who worked from sunrise to sunset through the weekend to build the wounded Iraq veteran a house from the ground up within three days.

"It's amazing; these guys have jobs," Strong said. "It really means a lot to me."

In 2006, Strong, 30, lost both his legs in Baghdad while serving his second tour in Iraq. He was sitting in a Stryker armored vehicle when a bomb ripped through it.  

While undergoing treatment for his wounds in San Diego, Travis and his wife, Misty, heard about Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit and nonpartisan company based in Taunton, Mass., that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.                                                                                                 

 Travis Strong (1)

Travis Strong wears a hard hat as he and his family get a inside look Sunday at their new house, which is being built by hundreds of volunteers under the supervision of the nonprofit group Homes for Our Troops. (Evan Semon, Special to The Denver Post )

The Strongs applied. "We called every day so they wouldn't forget us," Travis said.

The phone-calling blitz paid off when the Strongs called some months ago and were told they'd be getting a new home.

Knowing that her husband loved Colorado, Misty Strong researched nearly every town in the state before settling on Golden, where their new home is being built.  

"What's not to love? It's close to Denver and the VA (Veterans Medical Center), and downtown Golden is pretty," Misty said.

Also watching the house go up this weekend were the Strongs' children, Brianna, 9, and Sean, 6, and their dog Cutie.

The homesite was busy with volunteers from the Democratic National Committee, the Credit Union Associations of Colorado and Wyoming, Colorado Building and Construction Council, unions and building trades.

Scott Thompson of Colorado Springs and a member of the Carpenters District Council of Kansas City and Colorado volunteered his time for the homebuilding cause. "What an opportunity to give back to someone who has sacrificed for our country," Thompson said.

The goal was to have the the exterior of the home "rain tight" by Sunday afternoon, allowing electricians and others to work on the interior of the four-bedroom, two-bath house that will be outfitted with an elevator and a lowered floor plan that won't require ramps.

The deadline was met.

The Strong home is valued at more than $400,000, but it is even more valuable to the family. "This is not just a home; it's a piece of everyone who volunteered with their hearts," Misty Strong said.

Annette Espinoza: 303-954-1655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 November 2008 03:45 )