Allie Martin

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Video: NEMS Veteran Receives Home Improvement Help

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Mitch Beard is doing something he hasn’t been able to do for some time, guide his wheelchair from room to room.

For more than a week now, construction workers have been giving Mitch’s east Tupelo home a major renovation. It’s all made possible through a $30,000 grant from a group called Purple Heart Homes.

“We’re putting new tile down, new commode in that area. In this room we’ve enlarged the doors and redoing sheetrock to repaint all of that, want to make it more accessible for Mr. Beard, then we want to go into the bathroom, put new tile shower in, new tile floor and cabinets,” said Weylon Michael, of Suzanne Co. Contractors.

Old carpet has been ripped out, replaced by new hardwood floors.

Beard and his family have lived in this house for 14 years, but in the last few years, physical ailments related to his time in the United States Marine Corps mounted, leaving the veteran unable to get around like he used to.

“They call me an aging in place veteran and it’s us older guys from the Vietnam era,” Beard said.

Fellow USMC veteran Scott Burns, who is also disabled from a service related injury, heard about Mitch’s plight and contacted Purple Heart Homes. The North Carolina based non profit helps disabled veterans rehab, or purchase homes designed to meet their unique needs.

Burns conducts annual fundraisers for Purple Heart Homes and was eager to help out.

“It’s a great feeling to know that you’re giving back to somebody else,” Burns said.

For Beard, it’s tough to describe what the renovations mean to him.

“Just the floors make a huge difference to be able to wheel around, the doors, the floors and doors are the most important because I couldn’t even get into the door with the wheelchair, it’s been a blessing,” Beard said.

This is the first Mississippi project for Purple Heart Homes. Crews have a few more weeks of work to go, then sometime in January, a big celebration is planned when Mitch Beard and his family get the keys to their newly rehabbed residence.

Next year, Scott Burns will spend a week camped out on a platform at a NASCAR race, as a fundraiser for Purple Heart Homes. If you would like more information on the non profit, you can call Burns at 662 401 3349 or go to www.purplehearthomesusa.org.