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Claiborne County wounded veteran gets keys to new house

SPEEDWELL (WATE) - A Claiborne County veteran finally got the keys to his brand new home on Saturday.

Marine LCpl. Cody Evans was injured in Afghanistan in 2011 when an IED exploded leaving him a double amputee. Non-profit A Soldier's Journey Home surprised him in October with the announcement they would be building him a wheelchair friendly home. Construction began last weekend with volunteers working around the clock to get it done in just a few days.

"It's pretty wild," said Evans. He has gone out to the Speedwell property every day this week, watching his new home take shape.

"Every time, if I have to go do something or when I come back the next morning, something is completely different," said Evans.

Dozens of volunteers are working non-stop to give Evans a new place to call home. Many of them are firefighters or police officers from 13 different states and several are veterans themselves.

"Everybody takes care of each other. We look out for each other. Cody didn't come to us. We found out about Cody," said Mike Fitzpatrick, president of A Soldier's Journey Home.

Almost all the supplies were donated to the cause. Evans' home is the third they've built.

Previous story: Community helps raise money for East Tennessee disabled veteran's new home

"Everything about it is built to be maintenance free and built that he never has to move again," said Fitzpatrick.

It is not just supplies for the house itself that have been donated. All the food and drinks to keep everybody going strong was also donated.

"Humbling I guess is the best word that I've come up for it. It's just really crazy to see them use their vacation time to come in and work so hard to get it done," said Evans.

Previous story: Speedwell wounded veteran to receive wheelchair-friendly home

Evans said he never dreamed the 3,800 square foot house would be his, and it is something he will be forever thankful for. The volunteers are just wanting to thank him and others for their service.

"The adage is ‘pay it forward' so when it's time to help another military member everybody needs to be ready to step up," said Fitzpatrick.

If everything goes as scheduled they hope to have the house completed Saturday and will have a ceremony to present Evans with the keys then.


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