SGT Cristian Valle
On Oct. 23, 2005, Army SGT Cristian Valle, an Infantryman, was on patrol with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, performing a vehicle checkpoint in Balad, Iraq when a mortar round with a grenade attached was thrown out the window of a passing vehicle. The grenade exploded a few feet away from SGT Valle, tossing him into the air. He lost one of his legs immediately and the other was so severely damaged it was eventually amputated. He also sustained a pelvic fracture, burns and significant blood loss.
After SGT Valle was tossed into the air and landed on the ground, through the dust and smoke, the first thing that caught his eye was his wedding ring and he says that is what pulled him through. He spent 13 months at Walter Reed, where he had multiple leg cleaning surgeries and months of physical therapy. Today he is continuously adjusting to his condition.
The home Cristian currently shares with his wife Blanca and their four children is not equipped for his needs. The home is not ground level, the doorways are too small and Cristian is unable to do routine tasks around the home in his wheelchair due to lack of space.
Cristian says a specially adapted home will be a “reset button” for his family and him. The wide doorways, broad hallways and accessible kitchen and bathrooms will lift a weight off his shoulders. Cristian was a dispatcher at his local fire department for nine and a half years. Once he is settled in the new home, Cristian has aspirations to continue his education and pursue a film career making movies. Blanca would also like to go back to school for photography. Right now, she says she often worries about her husband’s safety when leaving him home. A home adapted to his needs, she says, will relieve that stress.
Cristian would like to provide support to others in similar situations. He has already begun to pay it forward by hand cycling for Team HFOT.
Cristian says he has much appreciation for the generosity shown from Homes For Our Troops supporters. “The injury proved to be very challenging and debilitating for me and my family as it resulted in the double amputation of both legs. Having the opportunity to participate in such a great program means a lot not only to me but to my entire family,” he says.