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Wounded veteran Joshua Bouchard gets a new home 

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, right, makes a tearful speech as he receives a new house on January 12, 2013. A.J. Crane of A. Crane Construction, left, steadies the podium. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, right, makes a tearful speech as he receives a new house on January 12, 2013. A.J. Crane of A. Crane Construction, left, steadies the podium. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard sheds tears of happiness while being interviewed by Channel 3 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard sheds tears of happiness while being interviewed by Channel 3 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, raises an American flag outside his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, raises an American flag outside his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, smiles at the crowd while proceeding down the driveway to his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, smiles at the crowd while proceeding down the driveway to his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard is interviewed by Channel 22 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard is interviewed by Channel 22 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, front, cuts the ribbon in front of his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, front, cuts the ribbon in front of his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Caeden, left, and Kegan Bouchard-Cottrell, center, of Granby play on an iPad with Zachary Rodrigues of Belchertown before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new house in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Sgt Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Caeden, left, and Kegan Bouchard-Cottrell, center, of Granby play on an iPad with Zachary Rodrigues of Belchertown before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new house in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Sgt Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • People start to gather in front of Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    People start to gather in front of Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, right, makes a tearful speech as he receives a new house on January 12, 2013. A.J. Crane of A. Crane Construction, left, steadies the podium. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard sheds tears of happiness while being interviewed by Channel 3 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, raises an American flag outside his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, smiles at the crowd while proceeding down the driveway to his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard is interviewed by Channel 22 News inside his new home on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, front, cuts the ribbon in front of his new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Caeden, left, and Kegan Bouchard-Cottrell, center, of Granby play on an iPad with Zachary Rodrigues of Belchertown before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new house in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Sgt Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • People start to gather in front of Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • A ribbon has been placed across the doorway to Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard, center, is greeted by his mother Mary Ann Hafford of CT, left, during a parade leading to Sgt Bouchard's new home in Granby on January 12, 2013. Homes for Our Troops and A. Crane Construction partnered together to build the home after Bouchard was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2009.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

Choking with emotion, the 29-year-old Bouchard called the new home, designed for ease of use and built by volunteers, “an honor and a blessing.”

“From the depth of my heart, I sincerely thank you,” he told the crowd, sparking a standing ovation.

The new one-floor, three-bedroom, two-bath home sports wide hallways, an open floor plan, roll-under sinks, a roll-in shower, pull-down interiors in upper kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors, among other features. He had been staying with his parents in their Granby home, which was not designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Bouchard lost a leg and suffered a spine injury from an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2009 that took the lives of two Marines, one a close friend. He has undergone years of rehabilitation and counseling to cope with the physical and mental trauma of his injuries.

Along the way, Bouchard got help from the Veterans Administration, the Wounded Warrior Project, local veterans groups and his family, including father James, a fellow Marine who was wounded serving in Vietnam, and stepmother Sue Bouchard. But he needed something more — a home where a young man could assert his independence and move forward on his new career as a voice for From Soldier to Soldier, a campaign to raise awareness and money in support of wounded veterans and their families.

The Taunton-based Homes for Our Troops program, dedicated to building homes adapted for troops seriously wounded serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, spearheaded the effort to get a home built for Bouchard. The group found “a huge outpouring of support” from volunteers in western Massachusetts, according to Dawn M. Teixeira, executive director of the group.

Members of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Western Massachusetts volunteered their construction skills while corporate and other sponsors donated goods and services, Teixeira said.

Granby residents helped with landscaping and donated money, raising 70 percent of the cost for acquiring a house lot on Chicopee Street and financing construction, according to Teixeira.

“This was a total community effort,” she said.

“I wish this was the last home we had to build,” Teixeira added, noting that Homes for Our Troops has built or is constructing more than 50 homes across the country for some of the 1,600 veterans who qualify for the program.

Granby project manager A.J. Crane, co-owner of A. Crane Construction in Chicopee, recalled when Annemarie Amoedo, the charity’s community liaison and corporate sponsorship manager, approached the western Massachusetts builders association to ask for help.

“She asked us if we could donate a couple thousand dollars or whatever else we could do and we said, ‘Why don’t we just build you a house?’” Crane recalled. “If you have someone else in western Massachusetts (who qualifies for a home), we expect you to give us a call,” he said, turning to Teixeira.

“This home is not charity,” Teixeira told Bouchard. “It is our gift to you for your service.”

Marine Maj. Kevin Conant, site commander for the Marine Corps at Westover Air Base in Chicopee, said Bouchard’s “grit and determination in the last three years has been nothing short of inspiring.”

“Events like this make me really proud to be an American,” said Marine Lt. Col. Allen Laughlin of the Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Sue Bouchard called the outpouring of support from Granby for her stepson “absolutely amazing.”

Tom Silva, of Triple S Construction in Wilbraham, said working on the project was personally satisfying. “A lot of people helped,” he said.

Bonnie MacCracken of Amherst donated her services as a real estate title examiner and cooked breakfasts for volunteers as they worked on the project.

“I met a lot of great people,” she said.

“I’m just really happy that we have somebody local who’s been recognized by the Homes for Our Troops program,’” said state Rep. John W. Scibak, D-South Hadley.

“He deserves it and a lot of people worked to make this possible,” said Mary Olberding, Hampshire County registrar of deeds.

Jeremiah Thompson, from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office, said Warren sent her personal thanks to Bouchard “for his excellent service.”

State Sen. Gale D. Candaras, D-Wilbraham, said Granby “is the only town that has succeeded in doing something like this.”

The Homes for Our Troops program is “an exemplar” of how Americans regard military veterans, she said.

“One soldier is that important to us and the rest of the world should take note of that,” she said.

Staff reporters Chad Cain and Barbara Solow contributed to this story.

Etta Walsh can be reached at ewalsh.gazette@gmail.com

Related

Bands, veterans groups act as house-warming party

Monday, August 19, 2013

GRANBY — The outpouring of community support for a specially adapted home for Marine Sgt. Joshua Bouchard, who was seriously injured fighting in Afghanistan, was matched by the outpouring of people who made his official homecoming on Saturday something grand. Bouchard arrived at his new Chicopee Street home in a motorcade that included local and state police cars, a Granby …

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