Apex Gulf War veteran receives wheelchair-accessible renovations to home

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Gordon Jeans took a tour around his newly-renovated home, he was nearly at a loss for words.

"How this ended up being me is beyond me," said Jeans, a Gulf War veteran who served nearly 11 years in the US Army.

Due to a degenerative health issue associated with his service, Jeans has slowly transitioned to using a wheelchair.

"I'm not totally in this chair yet. I'm still walking when I shouldn't because I don't want to give up losing my legs just yet, but the nerves are forcing it. My left leg is going to be useless soon," Jeans said.

That meant making his home wheelchair-accessible, which was a massive undertaking made possible by dozens of vendors, generous donations, and a small VA grant.

"We were able to remove walls. We were able to put together a fully-accessible master suite, including a bathroom that's fully accessible for him and his chair," said Daniel Sargent of Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, an organization that unites volunteers and donated supplies to repair homes in need.

"It is our responsibility to help a veteran. It's our responsibility to give back to our community," added Maggie Sparling with the Lennar Homes Team. The company partnered with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle on the project and helped throw a key ceremony for Jeans and his family on Thursday.

Other updates to the home included wider doors, kitchen appliances positioned where Jeans can utilize them, an emphasis on open space, and a ramp in front. Sargent said the construction process took about four-and-a-half months.

"It's meaningful every time we can help someone do that, but it's especially great when we can do it for someone whose fought to protect us and serve us overseas," Sargent explained.

"Everybody has just been so nice, and they've done so much out of the goodness of their hearts," Jeans said.

Jeans, who is known locally for his volunteerism, is grateful for the outpouring of support.

"This is going to be like a big painkiller for a while. I'm looking forward to it," said Jeans.
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