‘This will change everything’: Double amputee veteran to get free house in Burlington; volunteers needed

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BURLINGTON, N.C. — Cpl. Garrett Carnes makes his way through his Mooresville home, his hallway barely wide enough for his wheelchair.

“I don’t fit in the hall bathroom, so what we’ve done is put a computer chair in here,” he explains, as he hops from his wheelchair to the smaller, rolling chair. “This is how I have to get around the bathroom.”

With no handicap upgrades, basic tasks are difficult for Cpl. Carnes in his current home. The 26-year-old marine veteran lost both of his legs after stepping on an explosive while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. But soon, he will get a free home completely tailored to his needs.

“Inside your home, you’re supposed to feel comfortable and relaxed and not have to worry about anything,” he said. “This house is going to give me that.”

The home and land, in Burlington, will be provided to him free of charge by Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit that aims to help the most seriously injured veterans post-9/11. It will have more than 40 handicap features, including hardwood floors throughout, wider doors and hallways, roll-under sinks and pull-down shelving.

“To see people gather around my generation of veterans, it’s incredible,” Cpl. Carnes said. “[Homes for Our Troops] is more than a nonprofit. They’re family to us now.”

Cpl. Carnes, his wife, and 2-year-old and 3-month-old sons will move into their new home in July.

Saturday, June 25, Homes for Our Troops is asking for volunteers to help with landscaping at the home. HFOT is asking that you register in advance here.

Volunteers are asked to meet on Wheeler Bridge Road in Burlington at 10 a.m.

Cpl. Carnes said he, too, will be out working — to perfect what he calls his dream home.

“I’m planning on this being my final move ever,” he said. “Until they put me in the grave — this is it.”

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