As soon as Homes For Our Troops secured land for Marine Sergeant Milan Franklin’s home in Shelton, Wash., he knew it was time to propose to the love of his life, Delaree Hart. He felt it only fitting to pop the question on the lot that would one day become their forever home. “I knew it would be a big moment for us. Almost like the start of the rest of our lives together,” Milan says.
Initially, Milan and Delaree planned on tying the knot after they moved in. But as Delaree’s grandfather’s health began to decline, she wanted to fulfill his dream of seeing all his grandchildren get married. And, most of all, the two were so smitten with each other, they could not wait to be husband and wife. There was no question where the ceremony would take place. The couple said “I do” during a small and intimate ceremony, surrounded by close friends and family on their land in March. “Getting married there became the next logical step, especially because this new home will be where we grow, and hopefully, raise our family together,” Milan says.
The newlyweds feel the possibilities will be endless, now that Milan will be living in a barrier-free environment. They are especially excited to start their own homestead. This dream will be made possible in a specially adapted custom HFOT home on their lot.
In their current home, Milan, who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan, cannot help Delaree with maintaining the garden because there are no paved paths around the home for him to easily navigate on prosthetics or by wheelchair. It is also frustrating that their kitchen is too small for Milan’s wheelchair, resulting in Delaree doing most of the prepping, processing, and storing of the food they cultivate. “I want to at least be able to offer some kind of assistance in running it, so she’s not burdened all the time,” Milan says.
Once Milan receives his new home, he can easily access the yard and garden through paved pathways surrounding the home, and will have no trouble preparing meals. The home will also relieve Delaree from the constant fear that Milan will hurt himself. “One bad fall could really affect his ability permanently. The home will free him from the daily frustration of having to ask for help, and give me the relief knowing that he is safe to accomplish tasks throughout his day,” she says.
Milan and Delaree are still in awe that they are receiving an HFOT home. “This home will enable us to actually fulfill a large dream of ours and is, to say the least, unbelievable,” Milan says. “We owe so much to all of the donors, sponsors, contractors, volunteers, and all of the incredible American people who support HFOT that no amount of thanks could ever account for what we are being given. This isn’t just a house to us, it is a life. A simple and good life outside of the military that we’ve only dreamt about living until now, thanks to every single one of you.”
Milan and Delaree will receive their HFOT home in Washington on Jan. 5, 2019. Learn more about their story at www.hfotusa.org/franklin.