Charity organization, volunteers building Utah vet a new home

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HERRIMAN -- U.S. soldiers wounded in war often face big challenges in recovery, but one Iraq War veteran in Utah is starting the next chapter of his life with the help of the community.

Specialist Bryant Jacobs can hardly believe what's happening in his life. "Words can't describe it. It's just an amazing feeling," he said.

A Build Brigade is underway in Herriman to build Jacobs his very first home, at no cost. "I have somewhere to call home. I'm not running. I don't have to worry about my lease coming up," he said.

Jacobs showed us around amid the clamor of construction. Homes for our Troops, a national nonprofit organization, is leading the charge. In three days, volunteers and professional builders will frame the home; install windows, doors and a roof; and build in special features for the injured veteran.

On a routine mission in Iraq in 2004, a roadside bomb blew up under Jacobs' Humvee. A fellow soldier was killed; Jacobs suffered severe leg and shrapnel injuries and spent 22 months in Walter Reed Army Hospital.

"You ask yourself, ‘How much more you can take?' and you have to go from there. I was lucky to have a ton of friends and family that I'm close with," Jacobs said.

He contacted Homes for Our Troops during that rehab.

"By building the home, it takes that stress and that burden off their shoulders and really allows them to focus on their rehabilitation and moving forward with their life," said Mike Duckett, project manager for Homes for Our Troops.

Thirty workers were at the home's location Monday, sawing boards and building walls to show their gratitude to the Utah veteran. But he says they're the ones that are heroes. "There's organizations like Homes for Our Troops that stepped up and said: ‘We want to build adaptive homes for our troops.' So, to me, that's what a hero is," Jacobs said.

When he moves in mid-summer, Jacobs can start a new chapter in a new home. He is currently a full-time student at the University of Utah, studying communications.



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Jed Boal


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