U.S. Army Specialist Thomas Vandeventer will soon be the recipient of a custom-built home in the Dallas suburb of Royse City.
The veteran lost both legs in Iraq in 2007, and, thanks to the Homes for Our Troops program, he will become a mortgage-free homeowner in about seven to nine months. A community kickoff event is planned later this year, but construction already is underway, said Teresa Verity, marketing associate for Homes for Our Troops.
“Work is ongoing to prepare the site for the slab,” Verity said. “There should be a slab in the ground around the end of May.”
John Kirpach of Stone Creek Builders TX is leading the construction project.
Vandeventer, a married father of two, served as an armor crewman in the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad. He is now medically retired, following a blast of explosively-formed projectiles that struck the vehicle he was driving more than a decade ago, resulting in the loss of his legs.
“I tell him all the time that ‘God wasn’t done with you,’” LeAnn Vandeventer said of her husband.
The family currently lives in a “non-adaptive” home, and Vandeventer has to climb on countertops since he cannot reach the shelves.
“I’ve fallen on my head trying to get out of my bathtub because it’s just not set up for that,” Vandeventer said. “It’s not the safest house for someone in my position.”
The specially-adapted custom home built by Homes for Our Troops will include pull-down shelves and roll-under sinks. The bathtub and shower are designed specifically to meet Vandeventer’s needs.
Plans For The Future
Following the 2007 explosion in Baghdad, Vandeventer had more than 20 surgeries at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
Despite the tragic explosion, Vandeventer’s military experience was a blessing, he said in a five-minute video testimonial.
“I was on tanks, so right away, in my mind, that was one of the most interesting things you could do in the military,” he said. “It’s the only job I ever worked that I truly loved. You make lifelong friends … people who truly matter to you.”
Now with the prospect of living in an adaptive home, Vandeventer said he hopes to spend his extra time and energy with his wife LeAnn and their children, Isabella and John. He also wants to go back to school and make a career of his gunsmithing hobby.
“This gift will give me the motivation to go to school, and I will have the space and capacity to hone my skills,” he said.
Homes for Our Troops has built 293 homes nationwide and has more than 80 currently in the works. No cost is assessed to the veteran, and recipients are selected through a simple application process.
Members of the public can donate their time, volunteer hours, or money – and they can sign up to partner as an event host or engage employees in raising funds for the cause.
“Homes for Our Troops is a wonderful organization for doing what they’re doing, building homes for people who were critically injured serving this country,” Vandeventer said. “I think they’re doing a wonderful thing and a great service to this country.”
LeAnn Vandeventer echoes that sentiment.
“They have definitely become like family and they will always have a very special place in my heart,” she said. “From the depths of my heart, thank you.”
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