It was June 15, 2011, when local soldier Kyle Hockenberry, 19, went on a foot patrol in Afghanistan that changed his life.
When an improvised explosive device went off, Hockenberry, a member of the Army's 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, sustained injuries that would cost him both legs and his left arm. He received treatment first in Germany, then in a rehabilitation center in Texas, but his goal was always to return home.
This week, he did-in a big way.
Kyle Hockenberry and his wife, Ashley, relax on the front porch of their new home after unpacking.
The 6,600-square-foot home was built to someday accommodate children and be the place the Hockenberrys call home forever.
Kyle and Ashley Hockenberry unpack some of Kyle’s Army memorabilia in the home’s trophy room.
Kyle Hockenberry pushes a button in the kitchen that lowers the rack of dishes to his level.
Hockenberry and his wife, Ashley, received the keys to their specially designed, "smart" home in Newport Township Wednesday and spent their first day together Friday, unpacking boxes, trying out the home's special features and relaxing together in what's finally their home.
Built by Building for America's Bravest under the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the home was constructed after $375,000 in donations came in.
It features smart house technology with iPad controlled mechanics, elevator and opened, enlarged hallways to accommodate Hockenberry's wheelchair.
"It was worth the wait," Hockenberry said. "We hope to be able to just relax and enjoy this place, maybe even have a BBQ with family some time."
Below are some images of the family as they enjoyed their first day in the home Friday.