HANSON — Army veteran Paul Skarinka is one step closer to home.
The official ground breaking for his new house, being built by Homes 4 Wounded Warriors, was held Monday morning on State Street in Hanson.
A corporal in the Army, Paul Skarinka, a former Whitman resident and Whitman call firefighter, was welcomed by a supportive crowd as he and his family — wife Jenn, son Noah, 8, and daughter, Lilliana, 3, drove up their soon-to-be driveway.
The dirt road was lined with veterans, local police, firefighters, representatives from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Joe McDonald, the department’s color guard unit, U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass., and dozens of community well-wishers of family and friends.
“It is a little overwhelming but it’s great. The whole family is very excited. We feel fortunate and blessed to be picked by the organization for the new handicapped accessible home. We are excited to get the home started,” said Skarinka.
Alex Karalexis, executive director for Jared Allen Homes 4 Wounded Warriors, is a former UFC fighter and native of Hanson. During the event, he recognized everyone that turned out and jokingly said the outpouring was un-expected and would be hard to match at future groundbreakings.
Karalexis acknowledged the countless supporters of the new structure and sponsors over the years who have donated time, materials and funds to give wounded veterans like Skarinka — a handicap accessible home.
To date the foundation has completed nine custom homes for critically wounded veterans across the country. The home for Skarinka will be the first built in Massachusetts.
The dwelling is set for completion sometime next spring.
“The entire home will be 100-percent handicap accessible and tailored specifically with Cpl. Skarinka’s injuries in mind. The dwelling of 2,800 square feet will include adaptations making it easier for Skarinka in his daily life” stated Amanda Rahtz Director of Communications and Event Planning in a press release.
Five-Time NFL Pro Bowler and former Chicago Bear, Jared Allen and his foundation, Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors recently purchased land in Hanson and plans to build and donate a mortgage-free handicap accessible home for Skarinka and his family.
The foundation was formed in October 2009 after Allen returned home from his USO trip to U.S military bases in the Middle East.
He was moved by the commitment, dedication, and sacrifices that our soldiers make every day to protect our freedom, and wanted to say thank-you to every soldier in the only way that he knows how — by embracing the conflict and making a positive life-changing difference in the lives of those who need it most. He and his Jared Allen Homes 4 Wounded Warriors aims to help make life for wounded vets just a little bit easier.
Skarinka was seriously wounded in a grenade blast in Baghdad in Sept. 2004 suffering from numerous life altering conditions, including countless surgeries and the recent amputation of his left leg.
He was overjoyed by the outpouring at Monday’s event. Having grown up in the area and having many friends at the event made him feel “fortunate,” he said.