Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longs' Wait Is Finally over; Wounded Marine, His Family Move into Specially Adapted Home in St. Augustine

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longs' Wait Is Finally over; Wounded Marine, His Family Move into Specially Adapted Home in St. Augustine

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Korfhage

After 3 1/2 years of seeing almost everything in his life become harder, Brandon Long can finally enjoy a little relief.

And he can do so in his own house.

Long, a retired Marine lance corporal who lost both of his legs in December 2010 while serving in Afghanistan, moved into his new home Saturday on Honey Branch Lane. Joining him were wife Nicole and daughter Claire.

The home was built for him by the nonprofit group Homes for Our Troops and was designed especially to meet Long's needs.

"Four years ago, almost, when I got wounded, I thought it was over," Long said. "I've lived in three apartments since then, and none have been able to fully accommodate my wheelchair. My wife has to deal with me all angry and frustrated because I'm getting stuck in the bathroom trying to turn around.

"Those are the little struggles that we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis."

There were few signs of frustration Saturday as the Longs toured their completed home for the first time. They got to see the wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and closets. They got to check out their new kitchen with lower countertops that provide easier access for Brandon - and maybe 3-year-old Claire, too.

Brandon is looking forward to the independence the new house will give him.

"It's going to be nice to say, 'Sit down, babe, I'm cooking dinner tonight,' " he said. "It's definitely a great weight lifted off my family. They know I'm not going to struggle anymore."

In looking for success stories of injured veterans adjusting to normal life with the help of specially adapted houses, the Longs can look to their neighbors.

Homes for Our Troops built houses for John Hayes and Tyler Southern on the same street. The Hayes and Southern families were on hand for the Longs' groundbreaking ceremony in December and have added to the support system.

"It's going to be nice to live in a place that [has people who] are 100 percent relatable," Nicole Long said. …

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