Home renovation

Nonprofits team up to give local vet a home makeover

ARVADA, Colo. — Thanks to local and national nonprofits, life for a local veteran and his wife is about to get a whole lot easier.

“She has to carry me up the stairs,” Tyler Wilson said, talking about what his wife, Crystal, does for him several times a week.

Wilson was injured while serving in the military in Afghanistan. He was shot four times, is paralyzed from the waist down and now needs a wheelchair.

Submitted by Tyler and Crystal Wilson

Tyler trained in Germany after joining the military. Submitted by Tyler and Crystal Wilson.

While he may follow his family on a specialty mountain bike through the Colorado trails, his family’s new home is a different story. It’s not fully accessible. This is where porting comes in.

“A few times a week,” Crystal said. “I put him on my back, carried him on my back and carried him upstairs.”

It’s every time Tyler wants to take a shower or go to their kids’ room.

“I told her a long time ago that when we first started dating, I would do everything in my power to be her legs when hers weren’t working,” Crystal said.

She’s a firefighter, but admits it’s not easy. Both know that’s not sustainable either, but they don’t have nearly $200,000 in their budget to make their home fully accessible.

“We donated $60,000 which we raised from our donor community,” said Francesca DiPaola, CEO of Homes for Veterans.

This money, along with a VA grant and other donations, will be enough to plan and pay for the renovation of the Wilson home.

“The work we’re going to be able to do here is really going to be life changing for Tyler,” said Andrew Canales of Houses for Warriors, a Colorado veterans nonprofit that organizes things locally. “And there it just fills my heart, fills my soul, it keeps me going, it allows me to do this work.”

The renovations will include a new kitchen, a new main bathroom and a raised floor in the living room. The work will be carried out by local contractors, including Colorado Homes & Design.

The biggest piece of making the house more accessible will be installing an elevator.

“Tyler can be home safe with our boys, come upstairs, not have to be carried upstairs anymore,” Crystal said.

“It’s one of the greatest gifts,” Tyler said. “That normality and that independence to come back.”

Construction should start soon.

“It’s really going to be life changing in every aspect,” Tyler said.

For more information or to donate to Homes for Veterans, click here.