Work on a new home for paralyzed U.S. Army veteran Sean Gittens and his family is soon to get underway in Appling.
Homes for Our Troops, a national organization which builds specially adapted houses for severely injured veterans, announced Tuesday that a Build Brigade is scheduled for Jan. 27-28 for a home to be located at 5208 N. Tubman Road off Washington Road.
“It’s the ceremonial kick-off for the project,” Homes for Our Troops Public Relations and Marketing Manager Jennifer Fiorentino said of the Build Brigade.
The two-day brigade will start with words from the Gittens family, organization leaders, past home recipients and veterans. Then, volunteers will erect the first walls.
“The goal for the remainder of the weekend is for the home to be secured and a weather-tight shell put up,” Fiorentino said.
Gittens wife, Sharon, said she’s optimistic about the build considering it’s the second time the organization has tried to give the family a home.
Construction of the first planned home was set to start in June 2010 near the Knob Hill subdivision house the Gittens currently rent. But the property owners association issued a cease and desist order, contending that the organization never got final approval and there were concerns the home would reduce property values.
“I just have confidence that everything is going to be OK this time around,” Sharon Gittens said. “They have already started on the foundation.”
Gittens, a former sergeant 1st class, is partially paralyzed due to brain injuries he sustained while deployed overseas. He is wheelchair bound and can’t get around the family’s current two-story home. He also can’t use the shower or tub.
“That’s not an uncommon story with any of our veterans,” Fiorentino said. “To be able to go through this process and in the end, hand over to those families and veterans (a new home) and a whole new world of opportunities open up to them.”
The 2,700-square-foot home will be specially adapted to include “really very incredible features” like an open floor plan, roll-in shower, lift for the tub and roll-under counter space in the kitchen.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Sharon Gittens said of the bathroom upgrades.
The home will be given to the Gittens free of charge.
The house is built with volunteer labor, donated money and materials.
Skilled laborers wishing to volunteer can register by visiting online at www.homesforourtroops.org. Also on the site is a list of received and needed materials.