A groundbreaking ceremony by Home for Troops kicked off Saturday, July 26 with SPC Geoffrey Quevedo rolling up in his own pickup truck escorted by a motorcade of bikes from the American Legion Riders Chapter 852 and the Patriotic Guard Riders.
Quevedo stepped out from the driver’s seat onto an empty one-acre dirt lot off La Paz Road in Temecula where a crowd gathered to celebrate the next step in rebuilding his life after being wounded in war. The crowd of fellow veterans, many who were wounded themselves, volunteers and city officials gave a thunderous applause before the ceremony began.
“This is a remarkable piece of property,” said Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards. “Temecula is a military welcoming community.”
Homes for Our Troops is a privately funded national non-profit committed to helping those who have selflessly given to the United States of America and returned home with serious injuries since September 11, 2001. These homes are provided mortgage-free to the veterans removing the long-term financial burden of a mortgage, enabling them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.
Quevedo placed an application for consideration to receive a home close to two years ago while undergoing countless surgeries in San Diego for his injuries.
On November 30, 2011 while foot patrolling an alley with his partner, Army SPC Geoffrey Quevedo lost his left leg below the knee and his left arm below the elbow when he stepped on a pressure-plated improvised explosive device (IED). SPC Quevedo was 20 at the time of his injury and on his first deployment.
Since his injury, SPC Quevedo has undergone various physical therapies. Quevedo currently works at Sea World. His hobbies include going to the shooting range and playing soccer. His future plans include exploring entrepreneurship, and attending college to obtaining his degree in social work and possibly becoming a guidance counselor.
Fellow wounded warrior Justin Bond who also had a home built for him by Homes for Our Troops said, “These homes
they build for us help us wake up in the morning and not feel disabled.”
Bond spoke on the difficulties of performing everyday tasks like taking a shower or cooking in the kitchen in a home not outfitted for a wheelchair or missing limbs.
“To not have to ask for help gives us our freedom back,” Bond said.
Executive Director of Homes for Our Troops Bill Ivey said Quevedo is the 166 warrior to have a home built through the organization.
“I want to give all my thanks to all the veterans who came out today especially the Vietnam veterans. Our nation didn’t do a good job welcoming you all back,” Ivey said. “We want to restore freedom and independence these veterans lost fighting for our freedom.”
Quevedo said the wounded warriors injuries will either make or break the person and family. He spoke briefly, how some of his fellow soldiers have suffered from PTSD and committed suicide.
“Homes for Troops are giving me my life back. It’s pretty cool,” Quevedo said.
With his fiancée by his side, he also announced they would be getting married December 7, 2014 around the same time his new 2600 square foot home is slated for completion.
To learn more on how to volunteer for Homes for our Troops go to www.hfotusa.org/quevedo.