Conn. Town Builds Home for Wounded Marine

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A Connecticut Marine who was severely wounded by an explosive while on duty in Afghanistan is being honored for his service by his community, who are building him a brand-new house. Literally.

One hundred volunteers showed up at the residential lot in the town of Glastonbury, Conn., to frame and side Corp. Manny Jimenez's 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom home. The generous outpouring of manpower will mean a project that would normally take many months to complete would be reduced to a few weeks.

"Having been through the World Trade Center and 9/11, we certainly know what it's like to be down on your knees and need help," says Bill Keegan, founder of Heart 9/11, one of the organizations responsible for helping Jimenez.

Keegan joins the Rotary Club of Glastonbury, Purple Heart Homes and the residents of Glastonbury in volunteering funds, time and effort in constructing the home -- which will be offered to Jimenez fully furnished -- from scratch. All furniture and all the construction materials come from donations.

Jimenez, who was a squad leader in Afghanistan, was on a routine foot patrol in August 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated, wounding him. He required a left shoulder amputation, and lost hearing in his left ear and part of his sight in his left eye. Jimenez, 23, plans to return to school when he receives his medical discharge in early June.

Thanks to the generosity of his neighbors, come June he won't have to worry about finding a place to call home. This past weekend his home's wooden exterior was raised and, in coming weeks, volunteers will apply vinyl siding and roof shingles, install sinks and light switches, paint walls and lay flooring. The home is projected to be completed by mid-May.

The volunteerism displayed by the Glastonbury community is reminiscent of what the Fuquay-Varina community in North Carolina did for U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Stan Roberts in 2010. The then-29-year-old Roberts lost a leg during a tour of duty in Iraq, and arrived home to a newly built three-bedroom, two-bath home after a team of veterans, homebuilders and others came together under "Operation: Coming Home." The wheelchair-accessible home allowed Roberts, his wife and their four children to move out of a rental community and into a paid-for home close to the college he attended.

Similarly, upon his return, a grateful Jimenez will enjoy the comfort of a spacious home in turnkey condition.

The New York Times
predicts that the house would command "several hundreds of thousands of dollars" on the market. Corporal Jimenez, however, will get it for $1.

"By them helping, it means there are still people out there that care about military service veterans coming back," Jimenez told NBC Connecticut.

View more videos at: http://nbcconnecticut.com.


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Conn. Town Builds Home for Wounded Marine

Recent reports on the housing market suggest that real estate prices may finally be close to hitting bottom, with at least one expert predicting that national median prices will tick up this year for the first time since the housing bust. 

For some towns, price recoveries have been in the works for some time. Florida, in particular, lays claim to quite a few markets that appear to be firing on all cylinders, and posting the price gains to show for it.

With the help of our friends at Realtor.com, AOL Real Estate brings you homes from the metro areas that posted the greatest year-over-year median price increases in February, as measured by Realtor.com listings. If a national price recovery is happening, these are some of the towns leading the charge. 

Location: Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
Median Price Increase: 14.47 percent

Home Price: $5.479 million
Beds/Baths: 5/7
Sq. Ft.: 5,286

This home, apparently recognized as a local architectural achievement, uses the material terrazzo, a combination of granite or marble and concrete, for its indoor and outdoor flooring. 

See the listing for more details

Highlights of the home include its gourmet kitchen, master bedroom, master bath, entertainment areas, office and exercise space. Need we mention the views? 

See the listing for more details

Location: Daytona Beach, Fla. 
Median Price Increase: 15.56 percent

Home Price: $7.7 million
Beds/Baths: 4/10
Sq. Ft.: 13,654

Commanding a long, lavishly-landscaped driveway, this "new traditional" epitomizes the "good life" in Daytona Beach. 

See the listing for more details

The gated home has its own dock and and a generous stretch of waterfront.

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Location: Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla. 
Median Price Increase: 15.59 percent

Home Price: $8.7 million
Beds/Baths: 6/13
Sq. Ft.: 13,723

This home is a behemoth. But while it may stretch 13,723 square feet, you're never far from a bathroom. There are 13. 

See the listing for more details

The home is steeped in luxury inside and out. Exhibit A: a nine-car garage. 

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Location: Naples, Fla. 
Median Price Increase: 15.67 percent

Home Price: $11.95 million
Beds/Baths: 5/8
Sq. Ft.: 7,890

She's not hard to look at, is she? One of the many things this mouth-watering residence has going for it is its gigantic, resort-style pool. The home also has 127 feet of waterfront, and its many columns, inside and out, give the place regal flair. 

See the listing for more details

As far as amenities, we say the theater room and library top the list. 

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Location: Boise City, Idaho
Median Price Increase: 16.28 percent

Home Price: $1.25 million
Beds/Baths: 4/6
Sq. Ft.: 6,984

Sitting on a hilltop perch, this sprawling log-built home commands five acres of woodsy Boise real estate. 

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The place is brimming with interior detail, including cherry floors, built-in cabinets and sound system, "forged-nickel hardware" and crystal chandeliers. 

See the listing for more details

Location: Washington, D.C.
Median Price Increase: 18.45 percent 

Home Price: $7.495 million
Beds/Baths: 6/8
Sq. Ft.: 9,710

Throw down for this stately manse and you'll win the right to call Joe Biden neighbor. Vicey himself lives in the neighborhood. The Tudor-style home has 17-inch stone walls that are stitched with timber and brick. 

See the listing for more details, or see AOL Real Estate's full profile on the home

The home's interior has ebony-stained floors, and amenities include a library, breakfast room, great room, "executive kitchen," gymnasium and au pair room. 

See the listing for more details

Location: West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla. 
Median Price Increase: 18.48 percent

Home Price: $3.4 million
Beds/Baths: 6/7
Sq. Ft.: 7,043

This lavish mansion boasts membership in Harbour Isles, a ritzy, secluded community. In fact, ever single home has a dock, according to the listing. The 7,000-square-foot home has over 90 feet of waterfront for itself. 

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Pictured here is the home's columned patio that offers soul-soothing river views. 

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Location: Punta Gorda, Fla. 
Median Price Increase: 19.35 percent

Home Price: $1.15 million
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq. Ft.: 3,950

Overlooking a stretch of creek, this luxury property spans four verdant acres. Of all the interior highlights, the great room really caught our eye, thanks to some creative copy on the part of the property's listing description. Inside the cavernous room, the "Built in Wood/Gas Fireplace is perfect for snuggling on [the] occasional cool Florida evening," the description says.  

See the listing for more details

The home has a gourmet kitchen with cherry cabinets, marble countertops, dual ovens and its very own "butcher block." There's also a glass-enclosed pool that overlooks the property's creek. 

See the listing for more details

Location: Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz. 
Median Price Increase: 20.62 percent

Home Price: $4 million
Beds/Baths: 6/8
Sq. Ft.: 9,309

Located in the city that posted the second-highest year-over-year increase in home prices for February, according to Realtor.com, this $4 million mansion features marble and oak floors, beveled glass windows and custom cabinetry. Oh, and also close to 10,000 square feet of space. 

See the listing for more details

The home has a guest house and expansive courtyard connected to the gourmet kitchen. Amenities run the gamut: The home has a game room, wine cellar, music room and potting room, among other perks.  

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Location: Miami
Median Price Increase: 26.19 percent

Home Price: $7.7 million
Beds/Baths: 6/7
Sq. Ft.: 6,500

This sprawling apartment nestles into one of Miami's soaring residential skyscrapers. Price per square foot for the contemporary is a whopping $1,185. 

See the listing for more details

The sleek, lavish interior opens up to a balcony perched over Miami's waterfront. Occupants can suck in the jaw-dropping views while lounging in an outdoor hottub. 

See the listing for more details

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See also:
Robosigning Settlement: Millions From 'Foreclosure Party' Firm
Why Your Next Home Should Be Prefab


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