Hundreds of people gathered Saturday in Oxford, Maine, to welcome veteran Sgt. Christy Gardner into her finished home.
“It’s incredible. I mean never even dreamed of something like this, and now to walk in and see it done, it’s gorgeous,” Gardner commented, according to News Center Maine.
In 2006, Gardner was wounded during her service in Korea and along with additional injuries, eventually lost her legs below her knees. Since that time, she has lived in a home that presented many challenges and was not accessible.
However, over the weekend she received the keys to a house that was finished in 12 days.
Many of the volunteers who built it are current and former first responders with the groups Tunnel to Towers and A Soldier’s Journey Home.
A Soldier’s Journey Home website read:
In addition to improving her own quality of life, Christy is dedicated to improving the quality of life for others. She fosters and trains dogs to be therapy and service animals, with a goal of having her own training program in the near future. She has published a book for children, “Lucky: Little Guy, BIG Mission,” co-authored by Eileen Doyon, on diversity and how someone with a disability can overcome obstacles. Proceeds from the book go towards helping Gardner train more puppies as therapy and service dogs.
Gardner is a member of the Central Maine Adaptive Sports board of directors, where she has helped start new childrens’ programs for sled hockey, track and field, kayaking, and cycling.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation shared photos of Gardner enjoying her home:
#Tunnel2Towers & @ASoldiersJourn worked to build double-amputee SGT Christy Gardner @USArmy a mortgage-free #smarthome in just 12 days. This past weekend, we welcomed her into her new home – designed to help SGT Gardner reclaim her independence. Read more: https://t.co/FAjhUtgj98 pic.twitter.com/Fo8DCYcAak
— Tunnel to Towers Foundation (@Tunnel2Towers) June 21, 2021
The house has accessibility features such as wide doorways, an automatic-opening front door, adjustable cabinets and stovetop, and big rooms.
“It’s pretty humbling. I didn’t realize so many people cared. And watching the guys build the house and their hard work and sweat and effort that went into making my life easier, is something I can never repay,” Gardner stated.