Paralyzed Marine Welcomed to Rebuilt, Accessible Home

Volunteers and donors made Cpl. Himan's rebuilt home possible

A U.S. Marine paralyzed by an IED in Afghanistan returned to a home rebuilt to suit his needs thanks to his neighbors.

Cpl. Joshua Himan's Humvee was hit in Helmand Province in September 2009. After the 27-year-old's long recovery, hundreds of people welcomed him to his new Woodbridge, Va., home Saturday.

In fewer than 90 days, friends, neighbors and strangers built an accessible home at the Himan family residence.

Volunteers gutted the house, taking out all the carpet, flooring, light fixtures and baths and put in accessible replacements, said Jim Munday, of Caulkins Construction. They also widened the doorways.

"That room is for a king right there, so I can't complain about my living situation," Himan said.

Surprised by the rebuilt house, Himan was overcome with emotion, reminded how fortunate he is to be alive.

"There's a lot of guys that didn't get to come home, so I'm a lucky guy," he said through tears.

"I think it's vitally important," said Col. Mike Samarov. "I think, as a country, we did this thing wrong for the Vietnam generation and we're doing it right for this generation."

Bob St. Germain, a Vietnam vet, happened upon his neighbor's homecoming.

"Since I live right around the corner, I'll stop in, check on the young man now and again, make sure he's alright, see what I can do for him, 'cause that's what we do," he said.

The Northern Virginia Fuller Center for Housing led the project, and a $25,000 grant from the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund helped complete it.

Himan plans to go back to school. He wants to get the advanced degree in economics he started before he joined the service.

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