The spring of 2011 marked an important milestone for Marine Lance Corporal John Curtin. After losing both legs in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast and months of undergoing surgeries, he was finally on the road to recovery and starting physical therapy as an outpatient. The path would bring more than healing – it also led him to his future wife, Brittany Albert.
Brittany was volunteering that summer for the Red Cross at the facility where John had his daily physical therapy. She was immediately attracted to him and his sense of adventure, but also truly impressed by his motivation. “John was always quiet during physical therapy and you could tell he was ready to get back to his life and not be defined by his injury. The more I got to know him outside of his therapy, I learned he had a great personality and was a fun and easy person to be around,” she says.
The feeling was mutual. “My first impression of Brittany was that she was a beautiful girl that was very easy to talk to. I could see her kind soul whenever I would talk to her during therapy,” John says.
The two became friends over the summer. Brittany returned to school in Tennessee in the fall, but they remained in contact through Facebook. That October, Brittany flew out to attend John’s Marine Corps Ball and they have been together ever since. A year later – after John finished his rehabilitation at Walter Reed and Brittany graduated from school – they moved to Tennessee, and John proposed soon after during a weekend getaway to the Smokey Mountains. The couple got married November 2015, and became parents to a baby girl named Ashlyn in December 2018. Soon, they will move into their specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home in Arrington, Tenn.
Both John and Brittany say it’s difficult to put into words how much their HFOT home will help them and their growing family. “It is like someone has taken a weight off us both and is giving us the opportunity to live in a home where we can raise our family,” Brittany says. “By having a place that provides John with a sense of ease and accessibility, it takes a lot of worry and stress out of our daily lives.”
In their current home, Brittany worries constantly about John’s safety and his ability to take care of himself while she is out. “With a house built for his needs, I can leave confidently knowing he can do everything for himself, our dog and family, all while being safe,” she says.
The special adaptations in the kitchen will be key for John, who says he looks forward to having pulldown shelves and reachable counters when he is in his wheelchair. “It will give me the ability to cook and do more around the house by myself without needing any other help,” he says.
John and Brittany say they are grateful to HFOT’s employees, donors and sponsors for helping them rebuild their lives through the gift of a donated, specially adapted custom home. “We feel truly honored and blessed to be a part of this family and we are eager for our chance to give back and help other amazing heroes, like John,” Brittany says.