Land O' Lakes Veteran to Receive Home Makeover

José Pequeño is one of the most severely injured servicemen to ever return from Iraq or Afghanistan, an Army neurosurgeon says.

A grenade thrown into José Pequeño’s patrol vehicle while he was stationed in Iraq in 2006 changed life forever for the Army sargeant and his family.

The explosion cost Pequeño 50 percent of his brain mass, according to an Abilities Foundation press release.

Once New Hampshire’s youngest police chief, Pequeño, 38, now lives in Land O’ Lakes, where he receives around-the-clock care from his mother Nellie Bagley and his sister, Elizabeth.

The family’s story of perseverance and hope was shared with the world on a 2009 PBS Memorial Day special, narrated by actor Gary Sinise, with actresses Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes portraying Pequeño’s mother and sister. See video above

 “José’s one of the most severely injured servicemen ever to return from Iraq or Afghanistan,” Army neurosurgeon Col. Rocco Armonda said in a press release.

Pequeño has endured 27 skull reconstruction surgeries, and is confined to wheelchair or a hospital bed, and is entirely dependent on others, according to the Abilities Foundation.

That’s why the foundation is teaming up with Home Depot on Sept. 25 to make the family's Land O’ Lakes home more accessible by improving wheelchair mobility and expanding handicapped access for vehicles and therapists, according to the release.

The home was purchased for the family in March by the AmVets 44 chapter, according to Bay News 9.

The scheduled renovation work includes widening exterior wheelchair paths, installing door thresholds, landscaping, and pavers, providing a gas-powered generator, the release stated.

Read the renovation story on Patch on Sept. 26.

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Rosie Heim September 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Please let me know how we, the GFWC Lutz Land O Lakes Women's Club, can help on that day of Sept.25. We are a community service organization that would love to help with food for that that day or please tell me what your needs are for the day. Rosie Heim, President GFWC Lutz Land O Lakes Women's Club. You can email me at heim50@aol.com
Keli Sipperley (Editor) September 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Hi Rosie, the foundation would love to have food for the volunteers next Tuesday. I've emailed Cathy, as well. Thanks so much for offering!


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