PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – Cpl. Nick Orchowski was paralyzed and nearly died after a suicide bombing in Iraq. Last Sunday morning Orchowski and his family woke up in their new, free custom home in Parker.

CBS4 was on hand as the family celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early.

Applause rang out along a flag-draped driveway in Parker as Orchowski and his family entered their new home on Saturday.

“These are tears of joy. This is something that we waited a long time for,” Orchowski said. “It’s something that wasn’t owed to us. This is something that’s just a blessing.”

in 2004 the Army corporal was left a quadriplegic after an insurgent attack in Baghdad. On Saturday Orchowski and his wife Jamie were given a free home courtesy of the nonprofit group Homes for Our Troops. The group builds custom homes for wounded American veterans.

During the ceremony Orchowski wiped away tears.

“I told my wife this morning I’m not going to let my emotions get the best of me. That lasted about 15 seconds,” he said.

Much of the labor and materials were donated by local businesses, a fact the family says makes the home even more special.

“He’s my hero obviously. He’s my husband and I follow him 100 percent. But to have so many people know that and feel the same feeling is going to make things pretty incredible,” Jamie Orchowski said.

The house includes push button doors and other features designed to make Orchowski’s life easier.

“Barrier-free home; gives me back the independence I once had,” Orchowski said.

An independence he nearly lost on the battlefield defending his country. And now, just days before Thanksgiving, Orchowski and his family truly have reason to give thanks.

“There are so many people we want to thank and literally it’s everyone,” Jamie Orchowski said.

Homes for Our Troops says right now they’re building 50 more homes for other wounded veterans across the country.

LINK: Homes for Our Troops


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