TAMPA (FOX 13) - A paralyzed former Marine and his family got the keys to a brand new home Saturday, thanks to Building Homes for Heroes.
The brand new, mortgage free house is specially set up for the veteran, who relies on a wheelchair to get around.
In 2011, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Tony Trzeciak returned from Afghanistan for some well-deserved rest. Family video captured the tender moments as he hugged his wife and held his infant son, mason for the very first time.
Just one month later, Trzeciak was sent back to Afghanistan, where an IED struck his vehicle. The mental and physical injuries he suffered left him scarred.
"Especially after waking up paralyzed; it wasn't easy, but it was all worth it to serve," Trzeciak said.
Since returning, Trzeciak and his young family hoped to move to Tampa to be close to the VA hospital where he gets spinal cord treatments, but finding an affordable home that could accommodate his needs proved nearly impossible
That is, until the heard about Building Homes for Heroes, a non-profit that gives injured vets homes individually tailored to meet their needs.
"We provide them a place where they can feel safe and secure. These are their forever homes," explained Kim Vandyke with Building Homes for Heroes.
Wheeling through his new house for the very first time Saturday - something he couldn’t easily do in the home he will leave behind - Trzeciak said he feels like he's regaining his ability to be a husband and a dad.
"She's wonder woman. She does everything for the family. She takes care of me, my son and our newborn baby. She doesn't get much time to herself, so being able to do things on my own is going to make things a lot easier on her," Trzeciak explained.
Their new home has wider doorways and rooms, which will allow him to move easily with his wheelchair. Stairs and thresholds are non-existent. Low-level shelving will make cooking a breeze, and spacious bathrooms mean he can take care of bath time for himself and the kids.
“It’ll be nice to take a normal shower for the first time, ever,” Trzeciak commented as he and his family took in the new wet room and shower area.
Even the laundry room was specially equipped for Trzeciak, with raised washers and dryers, putting him back in the game with family chores. His wife said she was looking forward to the family’s new normal in their new home.
"To be able to see him to do more for his kids, ultimately that means the world to me," Tara Trzeciak said.