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Home for Granby veteran built by Homes for Our Troops rebuilt after fire

  • Marine veteran Joshua Bouchard chats with Bethany Pinard, second from left, and Jessica Caron in the kitchen of his Granby home during the re-dedication of his house on Friday, August 17, 2018. Caron is the office manager for general contractor Mason Sky, of Millbury, and Pinard is a veteran support specialist for the national organization Homes for Our Troops, based in Taunton, which oversaw the building of the original house for Bouchard in 2012 as well as the rebuilding of it after it was destroyed by fire on December 26, 2016. STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Brad Viola, left, of South Hadley and Terry Hanechak of Westfield say goodbye to Granby resident and Marine veteran Joshua Bouchard, after attending a re-dedication on Friday, August 17, 2018, for Bouchard's home which was rebuilt following a fire on December 26, 2016. Viola and Hanechak are members of the American Fire Sprinkler Association and work for Fire Service Group, of Palmer, which donated materials and their labor for the rebuilding of Bouchard's home. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Several dozen people attended the dedication on Friday, August 17, 2018, of Marine veteran Joshua Bouchard's home in Granby which had been destroyed by a fire on December 26, 2016. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The original pavers at the entrance of Marine veteran Joshua Bouchard's Granby home remain from its original construction in 2012. The house was re-dedicated on Friday, August 17, 2018, marking the completion of its rebuilding following a fire on December 26, 2016. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joshua Bouchard cuts a ribbon during the re-dedication ceremony at his home in Granby on August, 17, 2018.  —Mack Cooper



For the Gazette
Friday, August 17, 2018

Following the destruction of his house in 2016, Marine Sergeant Joshua Bouchard of Granby, who has severely injured while serving in Afghanistan, has rebuilt his home with the help of Homes for Our Troops.

“It was a hell of an ordeal,” Bouchard said about losing the home that Homes for Our Troops originally built for him in 2013.

On Friday morning Homes for Our Troops held a “rededication ceremony” at Bouchard’s new home where executives of Homes for Our Troops honored Bouchard’s service, and Bouchard’s family got a chance to thank Homes for Our Troops for its support of Bouchard.

Bouchard said he was excited to receive the new house and said he greatly appreciated the work that Homes for Our Troops does for veterans.

Homes for Our Troops is a Massachusetts non-profit that builds homes for disabled veterans who have fought in post 9/11 conflicts. According to the organization’s director of construction operations, Richard Pratt, the organization has built more than 200 homes in 42 states since the company’s inception in 2004.

“We average about 20-30 houses per year,” Pratt said.

CEO of Homes for Our Troops, retired Brigadier General Tom Landwermeyer said that while the organization builds houses they are actually doing much more.

“Building homes is what we do; building lives is what’s important to us,” Landwermeyer said.

Homes for Our Troops built a home for Bouchard after he was severely injured in Afghanistan. While serving with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Bouchard’s vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device and he lost his left leg.

The house that Homes for Our Troops built Bouchard burned down on December 26, 2016. Bouchard said that while he was watching a movie with his two dogs, he smelled smoke coming from the garage. Upon inspecting the smell, Bouchard found that the catalytic converter of a vehicle had caught fire. Bouchard was trapped in the garage for approximately two minutes as he struggled to open the automatic garage doors. Upon his escape, Bouchard went to rescue his dogs which required him to kick down his front door.

Bouchard and his dogs escaped with their lives, and Bouchard credited his quick thinking and reaction time to his military training.

The Homes for Our Troops organization didn’t actually build Bouchard’s new home — insurance covered the new house — but according to Pratt, the group provided Bouchard with the design and worked with its corporate sponsors to provide Bouchard with resources and materials for his house. One of the organization’s sponsors, Harvey Building Products provided the windows for Brouchard’s new home.

Landwermeyer said what makes Homes for Our Troops a great organization is the fact that they stay in touch with the people they help. Landwermeyer said that they don’t just build people homes, but provide them with support.

“They get a free home but they are still homeowners,” said Landwermeyer, who said Homes for Our Troops helps veterans settle into their new home and deal with the challenges of owning a house.

Bouchard said he was looking forward to putting the fire behind him and enjoying his new home.