Jefferson County injured Marine to receive free home

Jefferson County injured Marine to receive free home

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Sgt. Bradley Walker lost his legs in a 2006 explosion in Iraq. He's been living with his father in White Pine since then, in the same house he grew up in, but he says it's time to move on. Sgt. Bradley Walker lost his legs in a 2006 explosion in Iraq. He's been living with his father in White Pine since then, in the same house he grew up in, but he says it's time to move on.
The new home will sit on a wooded corner lot in a new subdivision on Douglas Lake. It will be 2,600 square feet, with three bedrooms, and completely wheelchair accessible. It should be done in six to nine months. The new home will sit on a wooded corner lot in a new subdivision on Douglas Lake. It will be 2,600 square feet, with three bedrooms, and completely wheelchair accessible. It should be done in six to nine months.
"It's definitely a life changing thing. It's still going to be a while before I wrap my mind completely around it," Sgt. Bradley Walker said. "It's definitely a life changing thing. It's still going to be a while before I wrap my mind completely around it," Sgt. Bradley Walker said.
The average cost of one of these homes is $430,000. It's all free for Sgt. Walker, thanks to Homes for Our Troops, which is based in Massachusetts. The average cost of one of these homes is $430,000. It's all free for Sgt. Walker, thanks to Homes for Our Troops, which is based in Massachusetts.
By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) - A local Marine who lost both legs in combat is about to get his dream home completely free of charge. It's all thanks to national non-profit "Homes for Our Troops." They've built 165 homes across the country over the last 10 years.

They break ground in Dandridge Saturday morning for Sgt. Bradley Walker.

Sgt. Walker lost his legs in a 2006 explosion in Iraq. He's been living with his father in White Pine since then, in the same house he grew up in, but he says it's time to move on. He has a fiance now, he wants to go back to school, and he's incredibly grateful for this fresh start.

The new home will sit on a wooded corner lot in a new subdivision on Douglas Lake. It will be 2,600 square feet, with three bedrooms, and completely wheelchair accessible. It should be done in six to nine months.

"It's definitely a life changing thing. It's still going to be a while before I wrap my mind completely around it," Walker said.

He has high-tech prosthetics he wears most of the time, and he's very active. Sometimes, though, he needs to use a wheelchair, which can be difficult in his current home.
 
"In the new house, there will be roll-under counter tops, so a wheelchair can easily get under there and access it instead of sitting way back from the sink. The doors are going to be wider so i can have access to all areas of the house," Walker explained.

The average cost of one of these homes is $430,000. It's all free for Sgt. Walker, thanks to Homes for Our Troops, which is based in Massachusetts.

"This is a forever home for these veterans. We want them to feel like they can live here for the rest of their lives comfortably. They deserve that. They have given so much and we want to do our best to give back," said Ashley Twigg, community outreach coordinator for Homes for Our Troops.

Sgt. Walker sees this as the beginning of a very bright future for him and his fiance.

"A new house, getting married, there are so many ways to start fresh from this. Just move on and see what life holds for me," Walker said.

There is an application process severely injured service members have to complete to be eligible for one of these free homes. They have to be deemed in need of a specially adapted home by the VA, which provides a grant of about $65,000. The rest of the money comes from private donations.

The groundbreaking ceremony for Sgt. Walker's home is Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on Plantation Point Drive in Dandridge. Everyone is welcome.

There will also be a volunteer day in a few months for the community to come in and help with landscaping. We'll let you know when that date is set.
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