Melbourne, FL

Mission Accomplished on Nov. 15, 2008

On September 16, 2005, SSG Paul Russell Marek was serving with the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division near Baghdad, Iraq when his tank was destroyed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Three of his crew members perished in the explosion and Russ was severely injured. He lost his right leg and right arm, his right ear and left thumb and sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and severe burns over 20 percent of his body.

Homes For Our Troops worked with general contractor Holiday Builders and the Marek family to time the completion of Russ’ specially adapted home with his return home from the VA hospital. Thank you for your support in building Russ’ Home.

In the years since receiving his home, Russ has kept busy in pursuing his education and hobbies. He is planning to complete his associate’s degree and would like to eventually work with the VA.  He is now the Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Brevard County, Florida. He has also gotten involved with a national group for Veterans called Project Healing Waters, where he provides fly fishing classes to fellow injured Veterans. The organization also works on relaxation, building creativity, and improving cognitive function.

Russ is making improvements in his recovery. He has started making an effort to walk without using a cane or other assistance. Though his progress has been slow, he says living in a home adapted to his injuries has been beneficial. “My home has given me the drive to keep looking forward. Knowing that people in the United States still care gives me hope to get past my physical injuries,” he says.