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‘My wife has to carry me upstairs’: Nonprofits team up to renovate local veteran's home

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 09:04:23-05

ARVADA, Colo. — Thanks to local and national nonprofits, life for a local veteran and his wife is about to get a lot easier.

“She’s gotta carry me up the stairs,” said Tyler Wilson, speaking about what his wife, Crystal, does for him several times a week.

Wilson was wounded while serving in the Army in Afghanistan. He was shot four times, paralyzed from the waist down and now requires a wheelchair.

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Tyler trained in Germany after joining the military. Submitted by Tyler and Crystal Wilson.

While he can keep up with his family on a specialized mountain bike on Colorado's trails, his family's new home is a different story. It's not fully accessible. That’s where the carrying comes in.

“A couple times a week,” Crystal said. “I put him on my back and piggy back him and carry him upstairs.”

That’s any time Tyler wants to take a shower or go to their children’s rooms.

“I told him a long time ago when we started dating, I would do anything and everything in my power to be his legs when his didn’t work,” Crystal said.

She is a firefighter, but admits it isn’t easy. The two know it also isn’t sustainable, yet they don’t have the nearly $200,000 in their budget to make their home fully accessible.

“We gave a $60,000 dollar donation that we’ve collected from our community of donors,” said Francesca DiPaola, CEO of Homes for Veterans.

That money, along with a VA grant and other donations, will be enough to plan and pay for a home remodel for the Wilsons.

“The work we’re going to be able to accomplish here, it really is going to change Tyler’s life," said Andrew Canales with Houses for Warriors, a Colorado veteran's nonprofit that is organizing things locally. "And that right there, it just fills my heart, fills my soul, it keeps me going, keeps me doing this work."

The renovations will include a new kitchen, new master bathroom, and raised living room floor. The work will be done by local contractors, including Colorado Homes & Design.

The biggest piece of making the home more accessible will be the installation of an elevator.

“Tyler can be safe at home with our boys, get upstairs, not have to be carried upstairs anymore,” Crystal said.

“That’s one of the biggest gifts," Tyler said. "That normalcy and the independence to get back."

Construction is set to start soon.

“It’s really going to change my life in every facet,” Tyler said.

For more information or to donate to Homes for Veterans, click here.