In an emotional groundbreaking ceremony, the process of building a new home for United States Marine Corps Sgt. Greg Caron began.
The ceremony included local politicians, representatives from Building Homes for Heroes, contractors, family, friends, and members of the community.
Caron said that you always see things like this on Extreme Home Makeover, but you never expect that it will happen to you.
“It’s a miracle,” he said. “This is a dream come true.”
In less than a year’s time, Caron and his wife, Nina, will have a new home on Abbott Road in Ellington that is between 2,800 and 3,000 square feet and will have lots of accessibility for Greg’s new needs.
The home will be built by Nordic Builders of Tolland, who got involved when they heard about Caron’s injuries. Liz Koiva, of Nordic Builders, said that she has known Nina since she was a child and wanted to get involved.
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“We did it because Greg sacrificed so much for his country,” she said. “We wanted to give back. Between us and the community, we can make a difference and give back. We hope the community will continue to support the project. The community has already wrapped their arms around Greg and Nina and we hope they continue to do that.”
Andrew Pujol, the founder and President of Building Homes for Heroes, said that before the holidays, the company is going to gift 15 homes and that the goal is to give 30 homes by this time next year.
He said that when he first met Greg’s parents and looked them in the eye, it gave him all the reason in the world to keep pressing on.
“They’re wonderful, wonderful people,” he said. “You can just see how much they love their son.”
Greg’s dad, Gary, spoke to the crowd, thanking everyone who has been involved in the project – and in all the support for his son. He also had special words for his daughter-in-law, calling her a cornerstone and noting how there wasn’t a day she wasn’t with her husband – even sleeping on an air mattress by his side.
“I give her credit for what she’s done, “ he said.
When Greg Caron spoke, he thanked everyone who has been involved in his recovery, and this project, and had special thanks for a fellow Marine who helped make this day possible.
Nina Caron had high praise for Building Homes for Heroes, saying, “Thank God for them.”
“Things will be 10 times easier in the new house,” she said.
In addition to the building of a new home, the Carons have exciting things going on as both have returned to Manchester Community College for school. Greg would like to be a physical therapy assistant and Nina is going for nursing.
This is an interest Greg picked up while at Walter Reed and having wanted to do something in law enforcement, needed to find something different to do since his injury.
“I enjoyed doing it and figured I’d give it a shot,” he said. “Not only will it benefit myself, but it will be beneficial to other people.”
Caron, who never stands still for long, has already competed in and will be taking part in the New York City one in November. His positivity has been an inspiration to all. He says it’s all mental.
“It’s just something that I have to do it,” he said. “It’s very easy to get down on yourself in my situation, and I’ve seen it. It’s very important that you stay active because it clears your thoughts of what happened. If you don’t stay active, you sit there and think about what you could have done, what went wrong, or why it went wrong. It eats away at you. It’s very important that I stay active. It’s a choice. It’s all mental. You have to be mentally driven to want to do it and if you put your mind to it, you’re going to be able to do it.”