About 50 volunteers showed up at the future home of Army Spc. Carlos Gomez for a volunteer landscaping day planned by Homes For Our Troops Saturday, Dec. 14, in Menifee.
The specially adapted home for Gomez, who was severely injured in Afghanistan, will be presented to him in a key ceremony, Jan. 25.
Volunteers came from Menifee and the surrounding communities and spent the day laying sod and planting trees and flowers with the help of Gomez’s children.
“I can’t even explain in words because it was touching and moving,” Gomez said. “It meant a lot to me; it meant a lot to my kids as well. For them to actually help plant grass, bushes, and plant trees around the house. They got a real kick out of that.”
In 2011, Gomez was serving as an infantryman with the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, when his vehicle drove over a 600-pound improvised explosive device, ejecting him from the vehicle and rendering him unconscious throughout his medical evacuation.
He sustained severe injuries to his right leg, right hand and back as a result of the blast. Once he arrived in the United States, Carlos’ right leg was amputated above the knee; doctors also fused his spine.
During the volunteer day, Gomez spoke to almost all of the volunteers, learning about what brought them to the house to help.
“I talked to almost everyone, and they came from all different places to get there,” he said. “It was pretty awesome. I was really thrilled to hear about everyone’s journey to the house.”
The home that Gomez and his family will receive later this month has more than 40 adaptations including lower countertops and roll-under sinks.
The key ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at 32698 Mira Street in Menifee.
Gomez’s home is one of more than 80 active Homes for our Troops home-build projects for injured veterans in various stages of completion nationwide.
To find out more, to get involved or to make a donation, visit www.hfotusa.org.
Read more about Gomez’s story and watch his video at www.hfotusa.org/gomez.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at email@example.com.