News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday March 13, 2012
APPLING, Ga. -- A three-time Iraq War veteran is much closer to a new home, but it hasn't come without a fight.
You may remember, Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens was injured serving in Iraq in 2007. A brain aneurism and stroke left him paralyzed and unable to speak.
In June 2011, the national group Homes For Our Troops offered him and his family a new home in the Knob Hill neighborhood in Evans, but the Homeowner's Association stopped construction because of strict covenants on the size and design of the home. Some neighbors worried the home could hurt their property values.
Thanks to a generous donation of land, the family is back to work on building their dream home just a few miles away.
Sharon Gittens is looking past the controversy her family faced at Knob Hill. She's moving on and getting ready to move into their new home.
"It's going to be open so he can use his wheelchair to get around," she said.
Sharon is looking forward to getting her husband into the home they've been dreaming of for nearly four years.
"I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm ready to move in," she said.
The new home is being custom built for her husband, who's confined to a wheelchair.
"He's like sleeping in the living room right now. You open the front door and he's right there," Sharon said.
There will be a roll-in shower, a therapy room and his own bedroom.
They're small things Sharon says will make a big difference.
"I just can't explain how grateful I am and just ready to be able to put him in a bedroom. He'll be able to take a shower. I can't wait. My husband hasn't been able to take a shower for at least two years now. We have to give him bed, bath," Sharon said.
After controversy over their first home last summer, Sharon says this one is meant to be.
"Maybe this is just the place where we need to be and we're just going to move forward from that and be happy, moving to a home now, not just a house, but a home for my family," Sharon said.
It's a dream home that would not be possible without the help of the man who donated the 3 acres for free.
"I want to thank him so much, so much. He's also a veteran and he supports our troops, he supports the veterans, and he's very grateful for what my husband and all the soldiers have been doing ... fighting, protecting the country," Sharon said.
The family is hoping to be ready to move in this May. Sharon says she can tell Sean is excited.
Homes for Our Troops will once again be asking for volunteers to help with the landscaping of the home. Once a date is set, we will pass it along if you'd like to help.
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