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An Injured Soldier Gets a New Home

SGT & Mrs. Austin Burchard
Army SGT Austin Burchard is thousands of miles away from where he grew up in Kansas. The story of how he came to call Florida home started in March of 2009. Burchard was on duty in Afghanistan when a local translator, who Burchard says was being trained on how to use a machine gun, accidentally shot him. The bullet ripped through his organs, damaging his spleen, left kidney and colon and shattering his spine. The injuries left the army veteran a paraplegic.

Last year, the Massachusetts based non-profit Homes for Our Troops picked Sgt. Burchard and his wife Donna out of hundreds of applicants applying to have homes built at no cost to them.  The charity has built and donated more than 60 specially designed homes for severely injured veterans since 2004. Its web of professional building partners includes Tampa Bay’s Southern Crafted Homes. This association led to Highwoods Contracting Corporation (HCC) and Sims Crane being brought on board to build the Burchard’s new home in the Lutz community of Stonebrier.


The roof is set into place

    As the sun rose high in the morning sky on Friday, Sims Crane Operator James “JT” Taylor was hard at work in the seat of the 60-ton Todano cab. The crowd of onlookers watched as the crane lifted a flag draped triangle rooftop to crown the walls of the home and subsequent lifting of the rooftop trusses.  The new specially designed home will have features like wider hallways, a ramp that leads to the front door and no 4-inch curb when you come to the garage to allow for easy wheelchair accessibility.  


Our client, Highwoods Contracting Corporation specializes in framing. HCC’s network of experienced carpenters, conscientious supervision and strong commitment to quality and safety makes them a natural fit for collaboration with Sims Crane.  Construction on the home is expected to wrap in the next 2 months. 


      The Burchards are excited about their new home and can’t wait to move in. 
Sgt. Burchard can’t believe such an unbelievable dream is coming true for him, his wife and his 14 year old stepdaughter Cheyenne. “Right now it’s surreal that this is actually happening to me,” says Burchard. “The response from the community is mind blowing.”


For  more pictures of the amazing build, follow this link.

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