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.
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
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.
Location: Naples, Fla.
Median Price Increase: 15.67 percent
Home Price: $11.95 million
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.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Median Price Increase: 18.45 percent
Home Price: $7.495 million
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.
Location: West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
Median Price Increase: 18.48 percent
Home Price: $3.4 million
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.
Location: Punta Gorda, Fla.
Median Price Increase: 19.35 percent
Home Price: $1.15 million
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.
Location: Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
Median Price Increase: 20.62 percent
Home Price: $4 million
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.