Construction begins on home in Appling for paralyzed veteran

Thunderstorms the previous night didn’t dampen the excitement Friday morning at an Appling construction site, where volunteers waited to build a house for a paralyzed veteran.


Homes for Our Troops kicked off a two-day “build brigade” for former Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens and his family.

“What a beautiful day to build a home,” Fort Gordon Col. Jeffrey Lepak told the group.

The build brigade was the ceremonial kickoff of construction of the house on North Tubman Road, which will be given to the Gittenses.

Homes for Our Troops is a national nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

Gittens is partially paralyzed from brain injuries he suffered while serving overseas. He is in a wheelchair and can’t get around the family’s two-story home.

“This new house is going to make it so much easier on my family,” said Gittens’ wife, Sharon.

The house will include an open floor plan, roll-in shower, lift for the tub and roll-under counter space.

Construction of a home was set to start June 2010 near the Knob Hill subdivision house the family rents, but the property owners association issued a cease-and-desist order, contending the organization never gave final approval and there were concerns the home that was planned would reduce property values.

The Gittenses, after having hopes for a new home dashed once, were excited to see walls going up Friday.

The house is built using volunteer labor and donated money and materials.

In about eight years, the organization has built homes for more than 100 injured veterans nationwide.

Homes for Our Troops Public Relations and Marketing Manager Jennifer Fiorentino said the family should be moved into the home by the summer.

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Vet's house to be built elsewhere
Group looks at other sites for paralyzed vet's home
Gittens family says home won't be in Knob Hill
Order puts vet's home on hold for now
Neighborhood says vet's home design not approved
Neighborhood's decision upsets wife
Neighbors pull plug on injured vet's home

To get information, volunteer or donate to Homes for Our Troops, visit Also on the site is a list of received and needed materials.

Sean Gittens' profile on Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops Web site