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Local Builder Will Construct Wounded Veteran a New Home

9:10 PM, Jun 12, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The applications and volunteers are still pouring in to help Tyler Southern and his bride-to-be get a big wedding present:  a new home to be built in St. Johns County.

Tyler is a marine, a graduate of Mandarin High, and an inspiration to everybody who spends even five minutes with him.

He came home last year from Afghanistan as a triple amputee.  He stepped on an IED disguised under dirt.  The explosion nearly killed him.

Now he's at Walter Reed in Washington for more rehab.  Meanwhile, Jeannie Blaylock and First Coast News are rallying folks to throw him a wedding a build him a home especially outfitted for a wounded veteran.

The non-profit group, Homes For Our Troops, will coordinate the project.  The group has already built more than 75 homes across the country for veterans severely wounded since 9-11.

Jennifer Fiorentino [] says she "stopped counting" after 1000 people volunteered to help with the home building on the First Coast.

Fiorentino says the General Contractor chosen for the project will be Dream Finders Homes. 

Mark McGuigan of Dream Finders says today that he and his son saw the coverage on First Coast News about Tyler and the hope for a new home. 

His young son said, "Daddy, that's nice.  Is there anything we can do?"

The home will be 2200 square feet plus a porch and garage space.

The dates of construction will be announced soon, but it's expected to be an early summer project.

McGuigan says they still need flooring donated, preferably wood and not carpet because carpet is tough for wheelchairs to navigate.  They also need an electrical contractor.

If you want to help, email  Jennifer Fiorentino at  [].


First Coast News

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