GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (KTXL) — A local veteran, who nearly lost his life serving his country, gets a life-changing gift thanks to a nonprofit.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Sykes has a new house, but his home goes far beyond just fresh walls and a roof.
“You have given me more than just a household, a new outlook, a new way of a future,” Sykes said.
On Saturday in Grass Valley, Sykes began that new future with a home that was made just for him, thanks in large part to the nonprofit Homes For Our Troops.
Sykes, a special warfare analyst, suffered brain and other injuries while serving in Afghanistan during his fifth deployment in 2008.
His new home has more than 40 adaptations added to increase his quality of living.
“Such as wider doorways, wider hallways,” said Bill Ivey, the executive director of Homes For Our Troops.
Ivey told FOX40 that building a home for Sykes is a thank you for all he has done for the U.S.
“The entire home is accessible to Ryan in his wheelchair, so that restores some of the freedom and independence to Ryan that he sacrificed defending freedom and independence for us in his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ivey said.
Saturday’s ceremony wasn’t just a celebration for Sykes and those who made this possible, it was also a proud moment for the community of Grass Valley. Anyone was welcome to attend.
“Everyone has been completely supportive,” said Shaquanta Bailey, community manager for Homes For Our Troops. “We reach out to them, and they’ve shown up, Grass Valley and Nevada County, has definitely shown up to wrap their arms around this veteran.”
The nonprofit allows veterans, who receive a new home, to have it built anywhere they choose in the country.
For Sykes, Grass Valley is where he grew up and its where he wants to stay in his new home.
“It’s a good feeling,” Sykes said. “It feels like home.”
Sykes told FOX40 his new home will allow him to put his full strength and energy into trying to walk again, as well as his cycling training for the Paralympics.