Marine Cpl. Kevin Dubois was in Afghanistan, clearing a helicopter landing area for a medical evacuation on July 31, 2011. He went prone to "get a better shooting position," he said, and with a single movement of his leg onto the pressure plate of a buried improved explosive device, his life changed forever.
Today he uses a wheelchair, both legs amputated from his hip down. In the two-story Rhode Island home where he lives today, getting around the house is a challenge — impossible, sometimes, without the help of his wife.
But with the help of Homes for Our Troops, that is expected to change later this year. The Massachusetts-based non-profit organization plans to build Dubois a new home designed for his specific disability.
All money raised by the Run for the Troops 5K race and dinner in Andover is targeted to help Homes for Our Troops bring Dubois closer toward a level of independence he has lacked for the last two years.
"The Homes for Our Troops organization wants to make him as independent as possible, so everything in that house is designed to maximize his potential for independence," race and dinner co-organizer Bill Pennington of Andover said.
In a video for Homes for Our Troops, Dubois said most New England homes "are all two stories, so you'd have to get piggy-back rides up to the second floor. Most of the time, the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the second floor."
"Transferring into the shower is obviously dangerous," he said. "I can't catch myself when I fall... I can, but I risk breaking my arm, and my arms, right now, are all I have got left."
It isn't just hard for him, however. As Dubois meets the challenge of trying to live independently, his wife Kayla must take a difficult step back.