Retired marine receives keys to new home in Virginia

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CROZET, Va. (WHSV) -- A retired marine received the keys to his new home in Central Virginia on Saturday — and it is mortgage free.

The organization Homes for Our Troops built a home for Corporal Kevin Blanchard and his wife Myra in Crozet.

“I try to take brilliance out of tragedy,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and said it was something he was born for.

However, during a tour in Iraq in 2005, Blanchard was driving a Humvee when a bomb went off.

The explosion caused him to lose his left leg.

"I was in the hospital for about 13 months, went through 30 surgeries, was in a coma for a little bit, but here I am,” said Blanchard.

The explosion in 2005 was life-changing, but Saturday’s home dedication was an even bigger life-changing event thanks to Homes for Our Troops.

"We have over 1,800 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan War that need independence and specially adapted homes,” said Dick Cody, the chairman of the board for the organization, and a retired general.

Cody said Blanchard’s home is one of more than one dozen in Virginia, and 200 in the country.

“[We’re] able to give them the freedom back since they fought so hard for us, but more importantly this gives them the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” said Cody.

Blanchard said he is thankful for the hard work from Homes for Our Troops.

He also has a message to veterans fighting the same fight that he fought.

“Don't give up,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard’s home is handicap accessible, and there is also enough room for the first addition to the family.

Blanchard and his wife are getting an American Mastiff dog named Socrates, who is currently four weeks old and will come home at the end of October.