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Community rallies to remodel home for local veteran paralyzed after a life-altering fall

Wayne Hues with his caregivers.
Wayne Hues with his caregivers.
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A Treasure Valley veteran's life was forever changed by a fall in the middle of the night.

It happened on March 9th. Wayne Hues broke his neck and will never walk again.

Wayne is now at the Veteran’s Administration Rehab Center in Seattle. He's been in several hospitals since that night in March and rehab is supposed to be his last stop, but he can't go home until he has a home that's wheelchair accessible.

His sister, June Shoemaker, has taken up the challenge of making that happen, "You know, they lived in a house, a beautiful home, unfortunately, it had a lot of sunken rooms, small rooms, it just wasn't going to work,” June explained. “So, they had to sell. And they were able to find a home that's all one floor, that is a lot better space for him.”

Still, the new house needs a lot of renovation to accommodate a wheelchair.

That's where Brave Hearts Idaho comes in. The veteran's charity got Home Depot to donate all the materials needed for the remodel. Jim Kern is the founder of Brave Hearts, "I've dealt with them before and they said, 'whatever you need.' They said, 'We'll supply all the materials."

Kern made the formal announcement on Sunday at a benefit event for Brave Hearts, “It's called a home modification grant. And that is what we are going to do. All of us got together and we're going to make this home for him so he will be comfortable for the rest of his life.”

Kern said, "I meet a lot of veterans that have had a lot of problems, and this is one of the more critical ones. And it's just gratifying to be able to put these people in a home that's going to be as comfortable as possible for him if he's going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life."

Also, there for the presentation was Joe Levitch. His company, Levco Builders, has agreed to provide the labor for the remodel. "It takes a community to put together something like this and make a house inhabitable by somebody who has a disability.”

June said she’s overwhelmed by the generosity of Idahoans, “Honesty, it brought me to tears because it was so nice to talk to someone that really understood where we're coming from and wanted to help ... It was wonderful."

And June got loud applause when she accepted the donations saying, "Even though I’m an Air Force vet, I feel like since my brother was in the Marine Corps, I have to say, hoorah! Thank you very much!"

Everyone's goal is to get the house ready by the end of September. We'll keep you updated on their progress. And of course... We'll be there the day Wayne comes home.

To donate to Wayne's Warriors, click here.

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