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Photo by Jim Blaylock
Volunteers do a ceremonial raising of a wall to the house that is being built by Homes for Our Troops for paralyzed Army veteran Sean Gittens and his family on North Tubman Road. Originally, plans were to build a home in Knob Hill but conflicts with the Home Owners Association led to the plan being abandoned.

Work starts on Gittens home

Volunteers build house for veteran

Posted: January 27, 2012 - 3:35pm  |  Updated: February 1, 2012 - 5:06am
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Paralyzed Army veteran Sean Gittens and his family listen to remarks during the kick off ceremony with Homes for Our Troops. Volunteers from the organization are building them a house on North Tubman Road in Appling.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Paralyzed Army veteran Sean Gittens and his family listen to remarks during the kick off ceremony with Homes for Our Troops. Volunteers from the organization are building them a house on North Tubman Road in Appling.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

The long-awaited construction of a new home for a paralyzed veteran got under way this past weekend in Appling.

Homes for Our Troops assembled a Build Brigade Friday, with volunteers stepping in to construct a home for Army Sgt. First Class Sean Gittens and his family.

“What a beautiful day to build a home,” Fort Gordon Col. Jeffrey Lepak told the gathered group at an opening ceremony Friday. “So let’s roll up our sleeves, strap on our tool belts, put on our hard hats and let’s build a house.”

The Build Brigade was the ceremonial kick-off of construction of the home, to be given to the Gittens for free, on North Tubman Road.

Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

Gittens is partially paralyzed from brain injuries he sustained while serving 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.

“This new house is going to make it so much easier on my family,” Gittens’ wife, Sharon, said.

The Gittens’ home will include an open floor plan, roll-in shower, a lift for the tub and roll-under counter space.

Construction of a first planned home was set to start June 2010 near the Knob Hill subdivision house the Gittens currently rent. But the property owners association issued a cease and desist order, contending HFOT never received final approval for their plans, which Knob Hill said didn’t meet the standards of the community’s estate section.

The Gittens family, after having hopes for a new home dashed once, were excited to see walls going up.

“Yeah, it’s cool,” one of Gittens’ four daughters, Monique Bramwell, 21, said. “You see it in the making. You see what all the fuss was about.”

The house is built using volunteer labor, donated money and materials.

In about eight years, the organization has built homes for more than 100 injured veterans nationwide.

“Our typical project is about three or four months (for construction),” Homes for Our Troops Public Relations and Marketing Manager Jennifer Fiorentino said, adding the family should be moved into the home by the summer.

For information, to volunteer or to donate to Homes for Our Troops, visit www.homesforourtroops.org. Also on the site is a list of received and needed materials.

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