Oregon Veterans coming home with spinal cord injuries face a life time of challenges. The statistics are sobering. According to the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America, 97 percent end up divorced and 72 percent end up committing suicide.
That’s why local Home Depot stores are stepping in to help, because sometimes the simplest things can make a big difference in their lives.
We saw their efforts at the home of Oregon veteran Roger Robinson. The former Navy man had been getting by with doors that were too small for his wheelchair for decades. His wife Joy showed us the hallway where Roger got more than his share of scraped knuckles and knees.
“He would come down here and it was so narrow he would hit it,” she said.
Home Depot volunteers from the Salem store put in new doors, new flooring and safety bars in the shower. Brian Scott, also a veteran, is the manager there.
“We just recognized the need in the veterans' community”, he said,” there are just a lot of gaps out there that aren’t being filled.
Jeff DeLeon, the President of OPVA told KGW, “The need is unimaginable.”
He says it’s critical for these vets to make connections and regain some of their independence as soon as possible.
“When you give someone that ability to really self-sustain you are giving them a gift," he said.
Scott says it’s a gift that is shared by everyone involved in the project.
”It’s great to get out there. It’s lovely just to meet the veterans and shake their hands,” he said, “to get in their house and see what we can do for them.”
Because of all the local efforts, OPVA is now up for a national award from Home Depot. If enough of you vote for them on Home Depot’s website, they will win a 25-thousand dollar gift card to help fix up more homes.