Saturday, September 28, 2013
As the wind whipped around him, Sgt. James "Matt" Amos unfurled a large American flag. The Marine watched as it was hoisted up a tall flag pole in the newly landscaped front yard of his newly built home.
Standing on prosthetic legs and using a cane, he then cut a ribbon that had been strewn across the front door.
Cheers erupted and he got a big smile on his face.
"I don't think you can put it into words," Sgt. Amos said. "It's just amazing the support from the community."
Saturday afternoon, leaders from Homes For Our Troops, a national non-profit organization, handed Sgt. Amos the keys to a new specially-adapted home in Mount Hope.
The road home to south central Kansas hasn't been an easy one for Sgt. Matt Amos, who was severely injured while serving overseas.
"You don't really plan on something like this to happen," his wife Audrie said.
In June 2011, on his third tour in Afghanistan, Sgt. Amos lost both his legs and suffered a broken pelvis in an IED blast.
Since then, the 1999 Andale High School graduate was recovering in San Diego, Calif. He and his family were living in a home that was not wheelchair friendly.
"We've been in a house that wasn't accessible at all. I was limited to two rooms in that house," Sgt. Amos said.
After hearing his story, Homes For Our Troops, partnered with the Wichita Area Builders Association (WABA). The organizations wanted to make sure that Sgt. Amos could have freedom at home after sacrificing so much overseas to protect the freedom of his fellow Americans.
"We had members immediately step forward who said because of who it's for and what it means, we want to be a part of that project," said Wes Gallion, President and CEO of the Wichita Area Builders Association.
In fact, hundreds of local people, groups and companies volunteered their efforts to build the new home in Mount Hope for Sgt. Amos.
They specially designed the home for him.
The rooms are all handicap accessible. The bathroom is especially accessible with a special shower and rehabilitation tub. Many of the doors and fixtures throughout the home are remotely controlled at the push of a button. And, appliances, like the microwave, are very low to the ground so they are easier to reach when Sgt. Amos is in his wheelchair.
"It's relaxing to come home now instead of stressful to come home," Sgt. Amos said.
He says all the people who have made that possible for him, his wife and their two daughters, have shown tremendous support and American spirit.
"It really reaffirms that faith in what you are fighting for," Sgt. Amos said. "This is the America I signed up to fight for."
To learn more about Homes For Our Troops and how you can donate time and money, please visit the organization's website: https://www.hfotusa.org/