OXFORD, Maine — Imagine building a home in 12 days. It's happening for Christy Gardner, a local wounded veteran, in Oxford.
"This is unreal. It's going to be a game-changer for me," said Gardner.
Gardner is a former Army sergeant who lost both her legs while serving in 2006 during a military peace mission in Asia.
"After that, I spent three and a half years rehabbing," said Gardner.
She said her current home is not accessible.
"I have a wheelchair that lives in the garage and I have a wheelchair that lives on one floor of the house and basically I crawl everywhere I go," said Gardner.
It's why the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and A Soldier's Journey Home teamed up, bringing together 100 retired and current first responders and veterans from 14 states, to volunteer to build Gardner a home that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"A lot of us have gone through trauma in our lives especially with our careers, so this is a way of us coping with it to be able to give back," said Paddy Neville, president of A Soldier's Journey Home and a retired New York City Fire Lieutenant.
They are building the home within a two-week span.
"The reason why we do that is each of us takes vacations from our respective departments. That's why we have to do it in such a quick amount of time," said Neville.
"Everyone's picking a job and working through it to get this house done," said Charles Percia, construction manager at Tunnel to Towers Foundation and a retired New York City police detective.
The two organizations build homes for wounded veterans across the country. The homes are paid for by donations and are mortgage-free.
"We're making their life easier for them. It actually helps us at the same time," said Neville.
"It made me cry. It's very, very emotional to see how happy and how liberating it is for them to get a house and that would make their life easier," said Percia.
Gardner will get the keys to her home on June 19.