Local veteran who lost legs gets brand new home in Burlington

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- It's not the first time Corporal Garrett Carnes was welcomed home, but this homecoming was special.

He lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol with the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines in Khan-Neshin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2012.

Confined mainly to a wheelchair, and occasionally wearing prosthetic legs, Carnes says the transition to a life at home has been anything but easy.

"I can't reach cups, I can't even use the master bathroom," Cpl. Carnes said.

But those problems are now a thing of the past. Carnes, his wife and two sons can enjoy a brand new home in Burlington thanks to the non-profit Homes For Our Troops. The home comes mortgage free, fronted by the non-profit.

"It's a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders," Cpl. Carnes said.

"This never gets old," said Patricia Catalano with Homes For Our Troops. "And after 217 homes being turned over, each experience with our veterans is unique, each family is different."

Each experience unique like each home, tailor made for Carnes to be able to move around without difficulty.

"The doorways are widened, the hallways are wider to accommodate the wheelchair," Catalano said.

"This will allow me to not have as many stresses inside the house that a grown man, a father and a husband shouldn't have," Cpl. Carnes said.

And for the support of the community, Carnes says fighting overseas isn't the only way to serve your country.

"They're patriots in a different kind of way," Cpl. Carnes said. "They don't have to pick up a gun or stand a post, but they're here to support the warriors when they come home."

The Carnes family applied for help through Homes For Our Troops. The non-profit has certain qualifying criteria for the home building program, but also can direct veterans to other resources through its network.