A severely wounded American veteran has now taken possession of the land on which a free, new home is being built. It happened Thursday in Chancellorsville, Va. And it happened to U.S. Marine Sgt. John Peck, who is missing both legs and both forearms.
About six years ago, Peck enlisted in the Marine Corps. In Iraq, he suffered significant head trauma from an improvised explosive device (IED). Following a period of recovery and rehabilitation, Peck extended his time in uniform and was assigned to a combat unit in Afghanistan.
A second IED blew off both his legs, both hands and parts of both arms. Peck controls a motorized wheelchair with the end of one of his arms.
A group of charities dedicated to helping wounded veterans raised (or pledged) the money to build a home for Peck with features designed to make independent living possible. Outside ramps, for example, will detect the presence of snow and built-in heaters will melt the snow. A smart-card system will open exterior doors for Peck; room lights will come on automatically, and the sink and stove in the kitchen can be raised and lowered.
Much of the money raised came from actor Gary Sinise's foundation.
Sgt. Peck thanked donors at a short ceremony on Thursday at the site of the home.
His medical rehabilitation in Bethesda, Md. should end in the next few months. At that point, Peck hopes to move into the newly-finished home in Chancellorsville, and start a job as a civilian with a government intelligence agency.