Cosentino and Homes for Our Troops have built a new home for veteran and wounded warrior spokesperson, retired Army Specialist Joseph "Joey" Paulk, based in Fallbrook, CA.
Joey, like so many of our country's veterans, came home from service forever changed. In 2007 during his first tour in Afghanistan, just one day after the Fourth of July, his tactical vehicle was hit by three anti-tank mines, instantly flipping it over, igniting the fuel tank, engulfing him in flames. His team leader perished, and Joey was left with significant injuries: Burns to 40 percent of his body and face. Smoke inhalation. Vocal cord paralysis. Complete amputation of all 10 fingers.
In addition to learning how to walk, talk, swallow, and live without the use of his hands, Joey faced the harsh reality that his home no longer worked for him in the same way it once did. It wasn't until he connected with Homes for Our Troops that he learned it was indeed possible for him to feel at home again -- in a new house custom-built and designed for his own needs.
"It wasn't until the [Homes for Our Troops] team walked me through how the design and build is adjusted -- every space, every door handle, every light switch -- that I realized how hard my life truly is," said Paulk. "I've adapted and I've overcome. It's the military way. I didn't think my life could be easy. But I'm excited to see how much easier and more independent my life can be."
While every inch and detail was designed with Joey's needs in mind, he admits he already had a few favorites before moving in: "I tend to slide things around since I can't grip and pick things up," said Paulk. "The polished finish of the Silestone countertops will make that so much easier. Loud noises tend to startle me, so having push-to-open and soft-close doors will help reduce my PTSD tension."
Joey and his family received the keys to their new home early September -- a day that represents more than he can express: "It's been three years in the making and the build has been happening for 7 months," said Paulk. "It's not not just renderings and choosing materials. It's here. Life will be so much easier for me, for my girlfriend, for our family."