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Inside the Gates: Building futures for wounded troops

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 1:03 PM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - Randall Young enjoys living in Wasilla. A small cabin has been home since he moved to Alaska from Texas in 2018.

It’s comfortable, but unfortunately not as comfortable as Young would like.

“There’s not enough room here for my chair that I have in storage for those days my legs and my back don’t want to work,” Young said.

It’s been difficult for Young since a roadside bomb exploded under his truck while on patrol in Iraq on Feb. 7, 2007.

“Flipped it over in the air, my body half-exited through the turret,” said Young. “It landed on the top, which crushed my legs.”

Doctors were able to save Young’s legs, but he relies on a cane to walk. That creates more challenges such as the steps that lead to his front door and an uneven ramp.

Young wanted to make improvements, however, since he rents he said he can’t. Plus, he’s on a fixed income after his discharge from the National Guard.

But soon living at home will soon improve for Young.

Crews have started work on a new four-bedroom house not too far from where Young currently lives. The new home is being made possible courtesy of Homes for Our Troops. The Massachusetts-based organization builds adapted homes for the most severely injured troops since 9/11.

“A lot of the homes out there have stairs, carpet, narrow hallways, narrow doorways,” said CEO and President of Homes for Our Troop Tom Landwermeyer. “A lot of these veterans almost end up walling themselves off in a certain part of the home because that’s where they can get around safely.”

Young will be the first person in Alaska to receive from the Homes for Our Troops. The program has built nearly 320 specially adapted homes nationwide since it started in 2004.

There’s no mortgage for those who receive a home, but they must live in the house for ten years, and then it’s theirs.

Young hopes to move into his new home during the summer of 2022.

Organizers say Young earned a chance to rebuild his life with his service.

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