OXFORD, Maine — Saturday was a special day in Oxford as hundreds gathered to welcome Maine veteran Sgt. Christy Gardner to her new home.
"It's incredible. I mean never even dreamed of something like this, and now to walk in and see it done, it's gorgeous," said Gardner.
Gardner was wounded while serving in Korea in 2006, and among other injuries, lost both of her legs below the knee. She's since been living in Maine, in a home that she says was challenging to get around in, and not accessible.
This weekend, Christy got the keys to her brand new home that was built in just 12 days.
"This changes everything for her. Anybody who is an amputee or is in a wheelchair, if you don't have an open floor space, if you don't have wide doorways, if you don't have the ability to do 360 turns in bedrooms or bathrooms, you don't have an accessible home," said Andrew McClure, national community engagement coordinator with the group Tunnel to Towers.
The home was built by hundreds of volunteers, many of whom are current and former first responders. They came from the groups Tunnel to Towers and A Soldiers Journey Home, which quickly build homes for catastrophically injured veterans.
The home includes numerous accessibility features like wide doorways, an automatic-opening front door, adjustable cabinets and stovetop, and spacious rooms to help make Gardner's life easier.
"It's pretty humbling. I didn't realize so many people cared. And watching the guys build the house and their hard work and sweat and effort that went into making my life easier, is something I can never repay," said Gardner.
The home is also mortgage-free.