Wounded Chattanooga Veteran Gets New Home

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 6/13/2013 7:24 pm
APISON ( WDEF-TV ) - For us, it may be hard to visualize what will eventually be built on this foundation, but not for Andrew and Tori Smith.

Cathy Smith, Andrew's Mother, says, "They'll have a place where they can unwrap their wedding gifts. They can have their life, they can celebrate the fact that he survived the horrific things that happened."

Andrew left for Afghanistan only 8 weeks after he married Tori.

On his first day of patrol, ten minutes in, Andrew stepped on a land mine.

He lost parts of both legs.

More than 30 surgeries later, and with the help of a local group called Steps 2 Hope, the couple can now plan their future here in Apison.

Cathy Smith adds, "This is going to be their first home, their first everything."

It's a home as solid as the support they've received over the last year.

Terry Massey, with Steps 2 Hope, says, "We had no idea what we were doing, we just had it laid on our hearts this is what we were to do."

More than 500 skilled contractors signed on for the job.

And while they're getting a head start, most of the work will be done over a 7-day period, starting June 27th.

Massey says, "They wrote checks not expecting to get a tax deduction."

Cathy Smith adds, "Every time I think about it I cry.  I think even more than the home itself, is that people are remembering his sacrifice."

It's fitting that this house will turn into a home on July 4th; a sign of patriotism from those who didn't know this Chattanooga veteran until now.

Steps 2 Hope will have another event on Monday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

They ask that you come to show support for the Smith family, as well as sign up to volunteer to help build the home.

Organizers say they still need volunteers to paint, hang sheet rock, and do several other things inside the house.
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