As a wounded Marine veteran rebuilds his life, a national non-profit is building him a new home in Fallbrook.
Sgt. Julian Torres lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010.
It was just one month after his first deployment. His left leg was amputated below knee, and his right leg above the knee.
Torres returned home to his wife Ashley and son Julian Lucas, and as he healed and started his rehabilitation, he discovered how hard it was to get around, even in his old place.
So they decided find a new place that fit his new needs.
“We actually did try to find a home and go through it the traditional way, and it’s almost nearly impossible to find something that’s going to be able to take care of some of the everyday things that I experience when I go over other people’s houses that aren’t ADA compliant,” said Torres in an interview with non-profit Homes for Troops.
Torres said when he’s in his wheelchair, he often has trouble navigating hallways, getting into bathrooms or just cooking dinner for his family.
Enter Homes for Our Troops, a national organization that raising donations of money, building materials and labor to build a specially adapted home for those injured while serving in the military.
On Sunday, the organization broke ground on a new home for the Torres family in Fallbrook – one with a wide kitchen, ADA accessible bathroom and more.
Torres said finding Homes for Our Troops was like finding a diamond in the rough.
“With people that are strangers to me, who have never met me, who have never known me until a day or two before -- for them wanting to help because they want to express their gratitude – I just want to say ‘Thank you,’” said Torres.
With the worries over a house taken off his mind, Torres said he plans to attend San Diego State University to get his master’s degree, with a long-term goal of becoming a public speaker.
Torres currently runs an inpatient PTSD rehabilitation program and a biweekly patient peer support group at Balboa Naval Medical Center.