Group breaks ground on new home for injured war vet

Posted at 3:36 PM, Oct 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-26 15:38:41-04

BELDING, Mich. -- Sunday marks four years since a West Michigan Marine was injured  after hitting an explosive device just one month into his deployment.

Now the organization "Homes for Troops” has broken ground on the site where they are building him a new home, free of charge.

“Homes for Troops” is a non-profit organization that has build 168 homes in 39 states, making the houses accessible for wheelchairs.

"It will have about 155 adaptations, which means the entire home is completely accessible to the veterans: Pulled down shelving, roll under sinks, stove tops, counters, roll in showers," said Bill Ivey with Homes for Troops.

Thrailkill was on a mission with his fellow troops, looking for IED's, when he noticed a a wire sticking out of the dirt.

"Backing up, standing up, and turned to my left, and that's when the IED was triggered," said Robert Thrailkill.

He lost both of his legs.

Thrailkill said that getting back to his life in West Michigan was a challenge.

"Toughest time for me was more the mental aspect of just understanding that my life was different and I'm not able to do everything I used to do before when I had my legs, and just accepting that I might have to use a wheel chair for the rest of my life," said Thrailkill.

Thrailkill said that friends and family helped him gain the strength to move forward.

"It took me about six to eight months after I got injured," he said, "that I just realized I was comfortable with it, and I could take my chair or I could take my legs and I'm still the same person. It doesn't affect me like it used to."

Looking on at the site where his new house will stand, Thrailkill said that that he plans on living in the home for the rest of his life.

"Overwhelming," said Thrailkill. "Having the community come out here, that means a lot to me, because I don't know anybody in this area, and then have the community come out here, that makes me feel better about everything."

The home is expected to be completed in March, depending on the weather. “Homes for Troops” is  also constructing 30 more homes right now, with another 20 still in planning stages.