THORNAPPLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A handicap accessible home was donated to an Iraq war veteran and his family Saturday in Middleville after years of struggling through a home that was not built to accommodate his needs.
Army Sgt. Michael Gower enlisted to fight after 9/11. He was deployed shortly after his high school graduation. He served one tour and then another in 2007.
Gower was then severely injured when his company drove over a two-ton IED, which instantly killed some of the unit and critically injured others.
Gower survived with critical injuries to his back, brain and both legs as a result of the blast.
Life since for Gower and his family has been difficult.
“It’s hard asking for help,” Gower said. “Especially when that help is always your wife or your spouse. You kind of feel like a drain.”
Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization, heard Gower’s plea and built him a fully handicap accessible home.
Executive Director Bill Ivey says Gower has already paid for it in full by serving his county.
“We never say it is a donation,” Ivey said. “We know what we’re doing, through the help of the American people, is providing an opportunity for these great men and women, who have been severely injured to get on with rebuilding their lives and live a normal life after their service. It’s the least we can do.”
The home features a spacious walk-in shower, lowered appliances and drawers that can all be used from a seated position.
It also has wider doorways and halls for wheelchairs.
His wife, Kelli says while Gower can walk with the help of prosthetic braces, it is much more comfortable for him to use a wheelchair or scooter.
“His legs and spine were so badly injured that often times, it’s just bone on bone,” Kelli said. “This home is a blessing. It’s awesome and it’ll change our family’s life.”
Gower says being able to function, in a similar way to an uninjured person, will give him freedom.
“I’m finally comfortable. I’m home now,” Gower said. “The sky’s the limit for us.”