LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Thanks to a nonprofit and other community partners, a Purple Heart veteran now has a fully adapted, wheelchair-accessible home in Athens. The one he can only describe as “a gift from God”.
Helping a Hero, Breland Homes and Ashley Homestore have worked together to present retired US Army SFC Amputee Wounded Warrior Scott Barkalow and his wife Tina with a home, furniture and appliances specially selected for his needs.
SFC Barkalow joined the Army in 1984 and spent 20 years in the National Guard. While deployed to Afghanistan with a group of Green Berets in 2003, Barkalow’s truck ran over an anti-tank mine while on a mission, ripping his right leg off.
Barkalow received the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.
An American flag now flies in the front yard of Barkalow in Athens’ Nature’s Cove community, the perfect touch for an American hero’s new home.
“You don’t think you’re worth it and you try to accept it. I’m just grateful,” says SFC Barkalow.
But says the house and the added furniture is a blessing.
“You get a house, that’s one thing, but the next thing you find out is that they’re furnishing the house? It’s incredible. It’s joyful,” says SFC Barkalow.
The house was made possible by Helping a Hero, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting retired veterans who have been injured while serving.
“It’s not a question of if but when I start using a wheelchair so I don’t have stairs here or anything like that in this house and that has made all the difference in the world, absolutely,” says SFC Barkalow.
And every detail, right down to the furniture, has been carefully thought out.
“For example, we actually have a durable material sofa, a loveseat, and a chair in their living room because his prosthesis tends to rip the leather,” said Meredith Iler, founder of the Helping A Hero’s Home program.
Which will make life a little easier for someone who fought for the lives and freedom of others. Something his wife Tina says is well deserved.
“He deserves all the wonderful things. He’s always taken care of me and this is a way for me to help take care of him,” Tina says.
The unveiling of the house was a group effort. Home Depot donated a grill and wood pellets, Bass Pro Shops helped with a gun safe, Paula Deen sent a kitchen package, and Patti Breland donated a wall hanging with a patriotic flag.
The public is invited to ‘nominate a hero’ and injured heroes in need of suitable accommodation from the global war on terror after 9/11 are invited to complete the ‘home application’. Both forms are available online.
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