AUSTIN — Retired Staff Sgt. Ryan Kelly’s driveway was overrun with friends, family and Boy Scouts singing “God Bless America” on Thursday as volunteers carried up a brand new living room set for his newly remodeled home.
“We wanted to say thank you in a tangible way,” said Meredith Iler, national chairman for the nonprofit Helping a Hero.
Together with insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kelly’s Austin home was remodeled to better accommodate him since losing his leg a decade ago. During a deployment in 2003, Ryan Kelly, a civil
affairs reserve soldier, was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment when his convoy hit a roadside bomb and he lost his leg.
“This has become the absolute perfect place for my wife and I,” Kelly said.
Improvements to his bathroom have helped a lot, he said. A ledge was added at just the height of Kelly’s amputated right leg to allow him to easily stand and shower instead of sitting down.
Typically the two organizations build a new home for veterans, but Kelly asked if his current home could simply be remodeled. It’s the second home donated in the Austin area and two more are planned later this year, Iler said.
Baseball star Roger Clemens also was on hand to welcome Kelly and his wife, Helena, into their home.
“At the time he was getting injured, I was on the mound … trying to bring entertainment and enjoyment and this man was making me feel safe doing it,” Clemens said.
For more on Kelly’s new home, read Wednesday’s Fort Hood Herald.