June 24, 2011
HARLEM, Ga. -- The Homes for Our Troops organization has built several hundred homes to assist severely injured service men and women. One home was built two years ago in Harlem for Sgt. Darryl Wallace.
Sgt. Wallace and his family feel Homes for Our Troops gave them a start to a brand new life -- one they thought they would not have. They just hope the Gittens' family can soon feel the same.
"It's just wonderful what they are doing for extremely wounded soldiers like me," said Sgt. Wallace.
He was stationed in Afghanistan back in 2007. An IED exploded under his work truck and he lost both his legs.
"It was pretty painful, I woke up two months after it happened," he said. When he woke up, his wife Tiffany was right by his side and so was the community.
In April 2009, volunteers and troops from Fort Gordon helped build a house for Sgt. Wallace. The home was 100 percent handicap accessible with lowered counters, wider showers and doors that power open. Many felt it was the least they could do for a man who put his life on the line.
"Had we not been able to get a house that was fully handicap accessible, he would struggle a lot more than what he does," said Tiffany Wallace.
"It's so much easier for me to get around and do things for my family," said Sgt. Wallace.
Now he wants a fellow veteran, Sgt. First Class Sean Gittens to have the same opportunity. Sgt. Gittens was left paralyzed and unable to speak after injuries during his third deployment.
Construction on a home designed for his needs was supposed to begin on Friday, but they hit a road block with the Knob Hill Property Owners association.
"He's a veteran and he was severely wounded," said Sgt. Wallace.
He thinks it is ridiculous that plans for construction were stopped.
"I am upset and mad." he said.
So are plenty other people. Now there are signs that the project at Knob Hill will move forward. But Sgt. Wallace said he would think twice about living there.
"If it was me and my house, I would not pick Knob Hill after this," he said.
The Wallace family says Homes for Our Troops will stand by their soldier.
"They will do everything in their power to get a house built for him, whether it will be in Knob Hill or somewhere else," said Tiffany.