FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) – Today marked a new step in the healing process for a war veteran from southeastern Massachusetts.
Sergeant Christopher Gomes lost his leg while serving in Iraq seven and a half years ago. The Cape-style house he shares with his wife and their son isn’t designed for a wheelchair or even someone navigating with a prosthetic.
But thanks to the Homes for Our Troops organization, that all starts to change, today. In a ceremony at at the VFW post in Freetown Saturday morning, the group kicked off the construction process for a new mortgage-free home specifically built to accommodate his needs.
The president of Homes for Our Troops, retired Major General Timothy McHale, made it very clear: the houses the organization builds are not acts of charity. They are part of a moral obligation to care for veterans.
Sgt. Gomes and his family arrived at the event Saturday morning with a police and motorcycle escort, and were welcomed by a large, cheering crowd.
“It was just a struggle,” Gomes told the attendees. “Everything I had to do was a struggle. Going up to my son’s room, up and down the stairs. Laundry, up the stairs, down the stairs.”
He’s faced challenges, but manages to keep his sense of humor.
“I’ve become a professional at falling down stairs,” he joked. “If anyone wants to try it, I’ve got tips. It’s really about tuck and roll.”
Friends and supporters signed the studs which will be used to build the house, which should take six or seven months with the help of a team of contractors and suppliers.
Anyone interested in making a donation to the project can do so at the Homes for Our Troops website, where there is an option to earmark donations for particular soldiers.