VIRGINIA

'Rebuilding Together', 'Heroes at Home' renovate vets home

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A soldier wounded five years ago is now able to get around his home more easily thanks to two groups dedicated to making sure wounded warriors get the best life possible.

After months of specially-designed renovations, injured veteran Patrick Horan and his wife, Patty, can move into their new home in McLean.

The former Army captain suffered a life-threatening injury in Iraq in 2007 when a bullet hit him above his left ear. Horan lost half his vision and suffers from epilepsy, but he's made an impressive recovery over the years.

Horan can speak, though some words are hard to find. He can also walk, though he wears a brace and the right side of his body remains weak.

Since April, a non-profit called "Rebuilding Together" has worked with Sears' "Heroes at Home" program to build a home that is safe and meets all of Horan's needs.

Susan Hawfield, Montgomery County's executive director of Rebuilding Together, said, "We want to help out any way possible to acknowledge their sacrifice."

They installed an elevator. The master bedroom is now larger and 100 percent accessible.

Arlington's Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Patti Klein added, "There is a bench that folds down, grab bars, roll in shower, sink where wheelchair could role under it."

The rotting deck was also fixed, and all the stairways have railings on the left side - Horan's strong side.

"Instead of thinking more universally both hands- it was one-handed kind of design think through," Project Manager John Lowe explained.

The Horans say they're excited to move in, a move Patty wasn't sure she'd ever be making with her husband. But, one she calls a dream come true.

"It's a symbol that we can move forward and start over and have a new chance at a normal life," Patty said.

It's estimated the Horan's renovated home cost tens of thousands of dollar, which the Sears' Heroes at Homes program covered completely.

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