FAIRPLAY, Colo. — Army veterans Brian Lowen and Eric Jordan received two brand new homes from the non-profit, Homes For Our Troops(HFOT), in Fairplay, Colorado.
Lowen and Jordan both suffered injuries, causing them to lose their ability to walk. Lowen had over 40 surgeries, culminating in the loss of his right leg. Jordan was injured by an IED in Iraq, which damaged his spinal cord and brain, leaving him wheelchair-bound.
The two men had difficulties finding a home that met their needs.
“Where I live now I have stairs and my house isn't wheelchair accessible," said Lowen.
After 21 years in the military, Lowen says it was difficult to adjust to life again. He would often have to crawl his way to the bathroom or kitchen.
"I would have to scoot around and now even my shoulder is having problems," said Lowen.
Although he has a prosthetic, it can often cause him pain. Additionally, using crutches makes it difficult to carry things like food or drinks around his house. A wheelchair is critical to Lowen's needs, but his home can't handle it.
Jordan is in a similar struggle. After marrying his wife Stephanie in 2017, they tried to find an apartment. The place they found had a shower with a dip, meaning Stephanie had to help him in.
"I was afraid she would slip and fall trying to help me," said Jordan. "It would be so easy for either of us to crack our skulls."
Both men are now finally receiving help. HFOT approved both men for their new homes and they both chose to have the home constructed in Fairplay.
"I chose it because it's just an easier lifestyle, everyone's kind of just happy to be happy," said Lowen.
The small town is quiet and peaceful, but Saturday morning it was ecstatic, as the crowds welcomed the two men at a ceremonial groundbreaking.
“I kind of felt like I was an NBA or MLB player, when you have a lot of fans and people cheering you on, it was it was awesome," said Jordan. "It made my heart jump with joy.”
The homes from HFOT have over 40 accessible amenities, including ramps, lowered cabinets and shelves. The hallways and doors are also designed to accommodate a wheelchair.
Although an opening date hasn't been set, HFOT Executive Director Bill Ivey says they hope to open the homes in the spring.
HFOT has built 369 homes in 45 states.