Injured Marine returns to a Nashua home makeover
By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent | June 21. 2013 9:38PM
Marine Cpl. ?Andrew Johnson, ?wife Heather and son Colby, 7 months, joined friends, volunteers and local legislators during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at their home on Dora Street in Nashua Friday afternoon. april guilmet
The young father of three, who uses braces on both of his legs and continues to struggle with mobility issues after suffering a serious back injury, moved to his Dora Street home two years ago after a lengthy recovery at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif.
Marine Cpl. Andrew Johnson and his wife, Heather, prepared to cut the ribbon on their newly modified Nashua home. Over the past couple weeks, volunteers from Building Dreams for Marines have been onsite to outfit Johnson's upstairs bathroom with a walk-in shower, mobility rails and a new shower seat, among other things. Cpl. Johnson was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2008.
And thanks to the efforts of dozens of strangers and friends, Johnson can now also fully enjoy all the comforts of his new home.
Marine Cpl. Andrew Johnson, wife Heather and son Colby, 7 months, joined Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Building Dreams for Marines Founder Brian Hooper during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at their Dora Street home Friday afternoon. Cpl. Johnson, who wears braces on both legs and has mobility challenges after being injured in Afghanistan five years ago, was presented with a newly modified master bathroom by members of Building Dreams for Marines, a Londonderry-based nonprofit aimed at assisting injured veterans in readjusting to civilian life.
Marine Cpl. Andrew Johnson showed Sen. Kelly Ayotte his newly renovated bathroom. Cpl. Johnson, who wears braces on both legs and has mobility challenges after being injured in Afghanistan five years ago, was presented with a newly modified master bathroom by members of Building Dreams for Marines, a Londonderry-based nonprofit aimed at assisting injured veterans in readjusting to civilian life.
After attending a local Marines celebration and hearing that some of the Marines were unable to attend due to mobility problems, Hooper began thinking of ways he could help out.
According to organization member Kevin Lagree, Johnson's home project didn't take long to complete, thanks to the many area volunteers who stepped up to assist.
Among those to donate goods and manpower were Odyssey Tile & Stone, Alosso Custom Carpentry, Al Monaco Construction and Ed Masi Plumbing Services.
"This is our third project we've completed but there are hundreds more," Van Wagner said. "And we're hoping to get to every one of them."
The couple also has two older children, Adalee, 5, and Alec, 4.
"The Marine motto, Semper Fidelis, means 'Always Faithful'," he said. "This program shows that this motto truly lives, even outside of the Corps."
"Unfortunately, its way too often that our veterans have to wait a long time for things like this," the senator said.
"The Marine Corps is about pride, sacrifice and self-sufficiency," Lambert said. "Unfortunately, that means Marines sometimes have trouble asking for help when they need it. It's a message we need to get out because we don't leave Marines behind on the battlefield."
For more information visit www.buildingdreamsformarines.com.