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Home Sweet Home!

We just moved into our new home that Homes for Our Troops graciously gave us!  This was my speech from the ceremony! The world should know how amazing this organization is!

Thank you for coming today! We are very excited to share this special day with all of you!We are very much looking forward to moving into this new home. It is a blessing beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Our current home, has been nothing but difficult for Kevin to live in. To get to the bedrooms there are stairs, to do laundry there are two set of stairs to go down. The bathtub is too small and hard to maneuver, and it is really just not safe. Kevin’s wheelchair has been in the storage unit since last year because there has been no room for it in the house. This has caused a nightmare for his legs, they never get a break. The skin starts to wear down and painful sores start to emerge. I truly commend him for having a positive attitude while dealing with these less than favorable situations!

One thing that Kevin and I both feared for our future was having a family. As many of you know, the war took more than just his legs and mobility, it took our ability to have children on our own. We must rely on IVF treatments in order to have children. While we are so thankful for the science that provides IVF, it is terrifying and difficult journey that leaves a lasting impact on your heart. We had amazing doctors, nurses, and staff that got us through it at Shady Grove Fertility. We are forever grateful for their time and dedication to helping us achieve our goals. Now, as many of you know, after our second cycle of IVF, I am 13 weeks pregnant. To say we are thrilled would be an understatement. We faced numerous doctors’ appointments, rounds of injections, losses, pain, surgeries, and emotional turmoil. Then one day, I woke up early in the morning several days after our last embryo transfer and decided to take a pregnancy test. The most beautiful thing appeared on that stick, those two pink lines finally showed up. Our hearts have never been fuller.

With having a child, we face many more obstacles than the average family, as nothing about our life is normal, but whose really is? In our current home, Kevin would have never been able to carry his child to bed. All you fathers out there, imagine that, not being able to carry your sleepy baby to bed at night. It breaks my heart for him. Not being able to run up the stairs when you hear your baby crying or if you think something is wrong. In the middle of the night, not being able to quickly reach your baby if it needed you. Bath time would be difficult, along with so many other activities involving the child. War took so much more than just his leg.

Receiving this home allows my amazing Husband, to be the outstanding father he was born to be. We all know, Kevin is going to love this baby with all he has, now he can be there physically whenever the baby needs him. I will be able to run to the grocery store and not worry about something happening if I leave them alone. I cannot begin to tell you what that peace of mind gives me. We will get to live a more normal life because of amazing organizations like Homes for Our Troops, Dan Ryan builders, and everyone else that helped build this home. Everyone that has participated in this build has given Kevin the ability to be the Husband and Father he wants to be. I could never thank you enough for that. Kevin takes pride in doing things for himself and being an independent man. I cannot wait to look out our back window and watch him trying to teach our son to play ball or maybe even helping his daughter on her Barbie Jeep that I am sure she will have. The memories this home will hold will be beyond measure. 

     One thing we never worried about is if our child would feel love. Our child is beyond loved by not only us but our “village” of people who have supported us. I have always loved the African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As an Educator, I firmly believe in this proverb. I witness every day the power of working together. There is always power in a group of people. This home represents the power of what can happen when people come together. Every wall has been built with love, compassion, and dedication. Every piece of sod that has been laid down has been by the hands of those who believe in something better in this world, who believe in this community and the people who make it. I believe in this community, I believe that we can make this area where we have chosen to plant our roots a place that can be nurturing to all. We grew up in this area, we’ve witnessed what this community can do when we come together with the same mission in mind and it is something we want to be apart of. I am happy that we will be raising our family here and I hope we have a positive impact on this community in the years to come.

When we met with HFOT we gained a new family. They welcomed us with open arms, we’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Kevin has often mentioned that since leaving the Army he missed the feeling of being a part of something, HFOT gave that back to him. That means so much to both of us. When we are happy they are cheering us on, when we face difficulties they help build us up. This organization has given us a chance to live the American dream no matter what challenges we face each day or what the future may hold. I’m sure they think they know what they have given us, a home, independence, etc. They have no idea, they’ve given us everything. A chance for my husband to do everything he has ever wanted to do, a place for our children to grow up and run around with their Dad, and the ability to carry our sleepy baby to bed. Those things are irreplaceable.

   Dan Ryan and his company have graciously built this home for us, making them a part of our family and hearts forever. All of you here, you’ve come out to our home to celebrate this great day with us, many of you came out on I swear the coldest day of the year to help landscape. Many have been cheering for us since day 1, that makes everyone here apart of our hearts and family forever. Our family will grow up knowing about you, and the loved you have shown us during some of the most difficult and amazing parts of our life. War may have taken many things from us, but it didn’t win.  

Today we ask, that everyone here, Our Village, help us create something to hang in Baby Jaye’s Nursery. We ask that you put your thumb print on the matte we will have displayed after the ceremony. This will hang in Baby Jaye’s room, as a constant reminder of your love and our extended family and all of the people who made this home possible-giving us a chance at an independent life. 

I’ll leave you with this quote, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make (Jane Goodall).” Thank you for choosing to make a difference in our life and for changing everything! Our lives will never be the same because of HFOT, Dan Ryan Builders, and people just like you for showing your love and support! We are forever grateful.


2 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home!

  1. This is just amazing! So happy for you both. Great speech, Lauren. I enjoy reading your posts, and Kevin’s, too. I hope all goes well with your pregnancy and you deliver a healthy baby, one who will have no doubt about your love.


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