Volunteers help build Burlington home for veteran who lost legs

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BURLINGTON, N.C. – “It’s a huge blessing for me to be able to be here,” said Marine Corporal Garrett Carnes, when asked about the injuries he sustained in 2012 while serving in Afghanistan. “I see the injury as a blessing in disguise.”

Carnes lost both of his legs after stepping on an IED.

Carnes and his family are moving from Mooresville to Burlington next month. A few years ago they reached out to Homes For Our Troops, a privately funded nonprofit. The organization builds specially adapted, mortgage free homes for severely injured veterans of post 9/11. They rely on donations from donors to fund these homes, nationwide.

Carnes says he's thankful for his acceptance into this program and looks forward to moving into his new Burlington home.

“It’s a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders,” Carnes said.

His upcoming home is handicap accessible, something he's not use to in his current home.

“The hallways will be wide, the floors will be hardwood, it'll be easy to roll across with the wheelchair with no effort. Everything will be in reach from the wheelchair,” Carnes said.

On Saturday, about 100 volunteers helped with the landscaping outside the home: laying sod, planting trees and flowers, and washing the side of the house.

Katelyn Donovan, Community Outreach Coordinator with Homes For Our Troops, says people from the area were excited to get involved.

“[There’s just] a sense of appreciation for Corporal Carnes, and this is just everybody giving back,” Donovan said. “This is a great opportunity for the community to get some hands-on involvement with the build project and learn more about Homes For Our Troops.”

Carnes has a wife and two kids. The family is looking forward to the move. They'll get the keys in a few weeks.

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