Disabled Veteran’s Home Gets Renovated

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GRASS VALLEY -- A disabled veteran is having his home remodeled for free, courtesy of the hands and hearts of local organizations in Nevada County.

"I never ask for nothing. I only ask for more hard times," Roger D. Wirtz said. "But I can't do that no more. I really can't."

The 60-year-old veteran told FOX40 News he spent around 20 years in the military, and then spent 20 years working for a water company. He said he believed that carrying 55 pound bottles of water over his shoulder for so many years contributed to his back problems.

Wirtz said he may soon have major surgery to fuse discs in his back and place metal rods near his back to give him more support. In the meantime, he uses walkers and a motorized wheelchair to get around.

"It's a pain in the arse," Wirtz said.

He said he was shocked when Home Depot first contacted him about building a wheelchair ramp at his mobile home in Rough and Ready.

"He didn't really think we were going to do it," said Home Depot Manager and Community Leader Shellie Lowetz. "It was just listening to him talk and how appreciative he was that we were even there."

Home Depot and All Veterans Stand Down of Nevada County helped organize the construction of the wheelchair ramp, and also helped get Wirtz a new motorized wheelchair with the help of a local company.

Will Buck with Stand Down told FOX40 he helped get Wirtz into a hotel room in nearby Grass Valley for a few days so that the team could do more work at his house.

When he comes home on Saturday he will find out that he got new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and new flooring. The team is also in the process of getting him a wheelchair accessible bathtub.

"Veterans have a very intense sense of pride. And being stuck in this house for so long, Roger lost that," Buck said. "He was spiraling down a rabbit hole. And I've seen that happen to too many of my comrades."

"He asks why would anyone want to do this for me, you know? I tell him every time I see him, it's because what you did for us," Lowetz said. "You put your life on the line for us, we're just helping you fix up your house."

"Oh, they busted their butts to do it. Stand Down has done right by me," Wirtz said.

Wirtz wanted to thank everyone who took part in the project. He said he knew things would be better when he got back home.

For more information on how to volunteer with Nevada County All Veterans Stand Down, or if you are a professional plumber who would like to be a part of Wirtz's shower installation, go to the link below:
http://www.nevadacountystanddown.com/