Groups build Wellington home for Marine wounded in Iraq
WELLINGTON (AP) – A Marine who had both legs amputated after his Humvee struck an anti-tank mine in Iraq in 2007 will soon realize his dream of a new home for his family in Nevada.
Two groups are building a wheelchair-accessible house for Sgt. Kenneth “Dylan” Gray of Payson, Utah, his wife, Kelly, and their three young children in Wellington.
Homes For Our Troops, in conjunction with the Builders Association of Northern Nevada, is building the home.
Plans called for crews to build the structure and roof, and to install windows and doors this weekend. Interior and finishing work will be completed during the next few months. The 2,700-square-foot home on five acres will feature four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Homes For Our Troops builds specially adapted houses for the mostly severely injured veterans from Iran and Afghanistan at no cost to them.
Gray said he chose the building site because it reminds him of his hometown in Utah, and is close to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, Calif.
“This means the world to me,” he said. “You can see how many people from the community who don’t even know me that have sacrificed their time to come out here. It’s pretty amazing that they all have come together to make my life a little easier.
“Every door is wider, the hallways are wider and there’s a roll-in shower, so I can roll my wheelchair into the shower. Everything in the house will have access from a wheelchair,” he added.
Gray spent six weeks in the National Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., recovering from surgery. He has since learned to walk with the help of prosthetic legs.
Now, Gray said he enjoys being able to make plans for his family’s future. His children range in age from 10 months to 4.
“I’ve adjusted fairly well,” he said. “My life is not over with. I get to do lots of stuff. I’m still alive. I got to come back and see my family again, and I didn’t have to stay in that country. Anything after that is a good thing.”