LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Thanks to a non-profit organization and other community partners, a Purple Heart veteran now has a fully adapted, wheelchair-accessible home in Athens. One he can only describe as “A gift from God.”
Helping a Hero, Breland Homes and Ashley Homestore worked together to present amputee wounded warrior SFC Scott Barkalow, U.S. Army Retired and his wife Tina with a home, furniture and appliances specially selected for his needs.
SFC Barkalow joined the Army in 1984 and spent 20 years in the National Guard. While deployed to Afghanistan with a group of Green Berets in 2003, Barkalow’s truck rolled across an anti-tank mine on a mission, blowing off his right leg.
Barkalow received Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.
An American flag now flies in Barkalow’s front yard in the Nature’s Cove community of Athens, the perfect touch for an American hero’s new home.
“You don’t think you’re worthy and you try to be accepting of it. I’m just grateful,” says SFC Barkalow.
But says the home and added furnishings are a blessing.
“You’re getting a house that’s one thing, but the next thing you find out is they are furnishing the house? That’s incredible. That’s joyous,” says SFC Barkalow.
The house was made possible by Helping a Hero, a non-profit dedicated to supporting retired veterans who were injured while serving.
“It’s not a matter of if but when I’ll start going to a wheelchair so I don’t have any stairs here or anything like that in this home and that’s made all the difference in the world, absolutely,” says SFC Barkalow.
And each detail, even down to the furniture was carefully thought out.
“For instance, we actually have a durable material sofa and love seat and chair in their living room because his prosthetic tends to tear leather,” said Meredith Iler, founder of Helping A Hero’s Home Program.
Which will make life a little easier for someone who fought for the lives and freedoms of others. Something his wife Tina says is well deserved.
“He deserves every wonderful thing. He’s always taken care of me and this is a way I can help take care of him,” says Tina.
The house unveiling was a group effort. Home Depot donated a grill and wood pellets, Bass Pro Shops helped with a gun safe, Paula Deen sent a kitchen package, and Patti Breland donated a patriotic flag wall hanging.
The public is invited to “nominate a hero” and wounded heroes in need of adaptive housing from the post-9/11 global war on terror are invited to complete the “home application.” Both forms are available online.