Wounded veteran's Tazewell home destroyed in fire

Wounded veteran's Tazewell home destroyed in fire

Posted:
The flames broke out at Cpl. Sue Downes' home in Tazewell late Friday evening. The flames broke out at Cpl. Sue Downes' home in Tazewell late Friday evening.
"That's my life up there, that's 15 years go my life in that home, my kids' memories, their everything, our everything," said the 33 year-old veteran. "That's my life up there, that's 15 years go my life in that home, my kids' memories, their everything, our everything," said the 33 year-old veteran.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

TAZEWELL (WATE) – A Valentine's Day fire destroyed the home of a wounded veteran and now the community is stepping in to help her rebuild.

The flames broke out at Cpl. Sue Downes' home in Tazewell late Friday evening.

"That's my life up there, that's 15 years go my life in that home, my kids' memories, their everything, our everything," said the 33 year-old veteran.

Cpl. Downes lost both her legs in Afghanistan in 2006 and now she and her family have lost almost everything.

When she came home to see her home in flames Friday night, her thoughts quickly turned to her four legged family.

"Just let me see my dogs, just let me see my dogs are out," she recalled pleading to firefighters.

Her retired service dog Lila survived, along with another pup Max survived, but her daughter's Chihuahua perished in the fire.

Now the community is coming together to help her find a new home, a new home that would be better suited for her needs.

"Of course having a home that's more accessible would be amazing,:" said Cpl. Downes.

The Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient lost both her legs below the knee the Humvee she was riding in was struck by an IED. She was the nation's first female double leg amputee. 

The nation supported her then and today they're showing their support once more.

In just 48 hours people have donated more than $10,000 dollars to the fundraising page.

"It's hard to keep saying thank you, that's all I know what to say is thank you thank you, I'm so grateful," she said.

The mother of three has seen her fair share of loss but with the loss of her home she's staying strong and looking ahead.

"I just want my kids to have their home back, their things back," said Cpl. Downes. "But we have each other and we can build new memories."

 

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