When retired U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Kurtz first enlisted in February 2009, he had big plans for his life.
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By joining the military, he’d be able to serve his country while also taking the next steps in getting a higher education. That was the plan, at least, until a mission turned nearly fatal.
In 2010, Christopher was deployed to Afghanistan where, from his very first mission, he was placed in dangerous combat situations. Within a year, a remote improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near him while he was on a foot patrol.
In an instant, Christopher lost two fingers on his left hand and broke his pelvis in three different places. Once he was stable enough to be airlifted off the battlefield, he underwent several surgeries at multiple hospitals — both of his legs had to be amputated above the knee. He remained in active duty service until 2013 when he medically retired.
Christopher has faced many challenges since that fateful day, including the daily struggles of living in a home that was not made for someone with a disability. There’s no telling how long it would have taken him to find a solution on his own, but thanks to the Gary Sinise Foundation, he won’t have to find out.
In the last decade, this non-profit has been providing veterans with mortgage-free homes at absolutely no cost. The founder, Gary Sinise, is best known for his part as Lt. Dan in “Forest Gump.”
“Shortly after the movie opened, I was contacted by the Disabled American Veterans Organization inviting me to their national convention where they wanted to present me with an award,” Sinise said. “I met hundreds if not thousands of people who were not playing a part in a movie.”
Through his foundation, countless lives have been changed forever, including Christopher who is finally able to live in a home that was, quite literally, made for him.
“We want to make it as customable and tailorable for them and their family,” Mike Thirtle, CEO of the Gary Sinese Foundation said. “So when you go inside the home you’re going to see countertops are lowered and you’re going to see a Dutch oven that opens a certain way. You’re going to see a sink where they can wheel up with their wheelchair to have access. You go to the bathroom and you see how it’s easier for them to get around because there’s a lot of wheelchair considerations.”
Construction began around September 2021 and now, after six months, the Kurtz family finally have a new place to call home. Best of all, the day they got the keys just-so-happened to land on Christopher and Heather’s 10-year wedding anniversary. Talk about great timing!
“It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes when you think about it … how much went into it, how many people put their hands on it,” Christopher said. “It’s very humbling.”
Watch Christopher get the keys to his new home below and don’t forget to share.
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