By Dustin Luca
---- — A disabled veteran celebrated the holidays in his new home, thanks in no small part to hundreds of Andover families.
Marine Cpl. Kevin Dubois, who lost both legs from an injury sustained in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on July 31, 2011, received his new, all-expenses-paid home in Burrillville, R.I. just four days before Christmas on Dec. 21.
His new, specially adapted home was the result of numerous fundraisers, including last April’s Run for Our Troops race and dinner in Andover.
Andover’s Bill Pennington, who co-organizes Andover’s annual Run for Our Troops, was on hand for the recent key ceremony in which the keys were formally turned over to Dubois and his wife, Kayla.
Pennington said the key ceremony rendered a grateful Dubois speechless.
“He was trying to talk. He was trying to say thank you, but he was so overwhelmed,” he said.
Built on 1 1/2 acres, the home affords Dubois a quality of life many enjoy, Pennington said.
“It sounds weird, but he has a full-time job. He’s married. He’s got a house,” he said. “When you talk to him, he doesn’t even talk about (his disability). He just talks about what he can do.”
The home is the 158th built by the nonprofit Homes For Our Troops, based in Taunton, which provides residences for disabled or severely injured veterans backed by the financial support of numerous events across the country, while also spotlighting the stories of heroes in need of help.
With Kevin and Kayla Dubois due to welcome their first child, a son, in February, the timing of their new home couldn’t be better, Pennington said.
“There are already baby clothes in the kid’s room,” Pennington said. “People were dropping off gifts, hanging up clothes, little toys and stuff like that.”
Andover will continue its annual Run for Our Troops events this April with a race dinner at the Wyndham in Andover on April 4 and the 5K road race April 6. While the course will remain largely the same, the finish line is being relocated from the intersection of Chestnut and Bartlet streets across the way to a site near the Town Offices, according to Pennington.