Wounded veterans to get custom-built homes from nonprofit

By Max Massey - Video Journalist

NEW BRAUNFELS - Two military veterans received a hero's welcome as they walked into Hoffman Lane Elementary School Saturday morning. Flags, salutes and cheering -- It wasn’t a welcome back to the country, but a welcome to their soon-to-be community.

Homes for our Troops, a national organization that builds custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, is in the process of building homes for Sgt. Hubert Gonzales and Sgt. Ricardo Perez-Ramos and their families.

Why is this organization so important?

Homes for Our Troops gives homes to severely injured veterans. Aside from lifting the financial burden of  housing, the organization said it strives to give veterans a chance to rebuild their lives.

“There’s just a ton of things in a regular home that just take away the freedom and independence these veterans have had all along. They are totally dependent on people doing things for them and they don’t like it,” Tom Landwermeyer from Homes for Our Troops said.

The homes, group officials said, are game-changers in regard to accessibility and even family dynamics.

“It’s so easy in my wheelchair. I can take care of my daughter; I can go to the kitchen; I can move into the shower -- roll in shower -- everything is so accessible. It’s not a burden in the home in a wheelchair. It’s awesome,” said Hector Luna Rodriguez, who has a newly built home in Boerne thanks to the program.

The homes come with more than 40 adaptations that accommodate wounded veterans and their families and they're also mortgage-free. The program even offers three years of financial assistance training.

What was the purpose of the welcome wagon?

Saturday’s kickoff party was a way to introduce the families to members of the community and vice versa. Approximately 100 people attended the greeting event. Attendees said it’s an important part of the moving process, because even if the homes are not complete, the families already have a feeling of belonging and community.

When will the homes be finished?

The two homes in New Braunfels are expected to be complete and ready to move into by this summer. Homes for Our Troops has given homes to 250 veterans and their families in 42 states there are 92 waiting. And the VA said another thousand veterans are eligible for the program.

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