When most people move into a new home they aren't accompanied by a parade, a marching band and a throng of politicians lining up to give speeches.
But Manny Jimenez isn't exactly most people. And the brand new, custom-built 2,400-square-foot home he moved into last weekend at 131 Addison Road isn't exactly like most homes either.
Jimenez, a 23-year-old New Britain native and a corporal in the U.S. Marines, was wounded after a homemade bomb detonated near him in Afghanistan in 2010. He lost his left arm, hearing in his left ear and partial sight in his left eye.
Jimenez has not let that setback stop him, though. He has plans to attend Central Connecticut State University, where he hopes to earn a degree in physical education.
And now he has a new home to call his own, thanks to Purple Heart Homes, a nonprofit organization founded by a pair of wounded veterans that builds homes for other wounded veterans across the country, largely through the efforts of volunteers.
Jimenez's Glastonbury home was built almost entirely through donations and by volunteers. Many local companies chipped in to donate everything from the light fixtures inside the new house to the appliances to the garage door. The Glastonbury Rotary Club helped secure the local labor and many of the donations.
Jimenez was all smiles last Saturday afternoon as he arrived in a bright blue Mustang convertible driven by his brother and was presented with the keys to his new house in a ceremony that included remarks from local and state officials, such as Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal.
The Glastonbury Police Department blocked off much of Addison Road for the morning, while the Manchester Regional Police and Fire Pipe Band gave Jimenez a musical welcome.
"It's home," Jimenez said afterwards. "It's one less obstacle you have to worry about. How many guys want to move back home with their parents? It's not like the best thing to do, especially after you just served five years. You want to go and live your own life."
Purple Heart Homes is planning a home in Manchester for wounded Army Sgt. Sandra Lee as its next Connecticut project.
Did you help to build Manny Jimenez's home? Tell us about the project in the comments!