Across the country, soldiers who have lost limbs from the wars in the Middle East are receiving mortgage-free homes as a small measure of gratitude and honor for their sacrifices. The Gary Sinise Foundation has provided 80 mortgage-free homes to veterans who have lost physical capacity in some form or another. While the process isn’t fast, it’s certainly very rewarding to see maimed veterans receive custom built homes. The homes are built to be fully accessible to each soldier’s disability.
In DeForest, Wisconsin, a medically-retired former Sergeant Tory Honda was recently given the keys to a new mortgage-free home. In March, Sergeant Honda and his family learned that a coalition made up of Operation Finally Home, Tim O’Brien Homes, and the Structural Building Components Association had secured a new home for their family in the Bear Tree Farms area of DeForest. Honda said “It means so much to me. Perspective? I can’t even put that into words. I’m just grateful, and I hope I deserve every bit of it. I feel like I don’t, but I really hope I do. I hope I can live up to the standards that everybody looks forward to.”
For another soldier, retired Army Sergeant Shane Parsons, the gesture was even more grand.
Wheelchair-bound after losing both legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury, the Gary Sinise Foundation built a smart, 100% accessible home for the man, his wife Jennifer, and their two sons Owen and Emmett. His wife Jennifer said “In the living situations we’ve had, he could only really live through 70 to 80% of the house, it was about as much as he could access. Even though he’s already a wonderful dad, it’s going to allow him to be more hands-on, and be able to participate more where before he wasn’t able to.”
Building custom homes for injured veterans is just one of the many programs of the Gary Sinise Foundation. Sinise had supported America’s service members since the 80’s, supporting local Vietnam veterans groups in the Chicago area. After his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film Forrest Gump formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community, Sinise forged a tireless journey of giving back by founding the nonprofit 29 years ago.