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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Steven Schulz was five months into his second tour in Iraq when he was seriously injured outside of Fallujah in April of 2005. Steven’s HUMVEE encountered a blast caused by an improvised explosive device placed by insurgents. Steven was severely wounded by shrapnel from a RPG round that had been placed inside a concrete curb that had been set off by remote control. The shrapnel entered in and around Steven’s right eye and penetrated his brain. Due to the heroic actions of his fellow Marines and Navy Corpsman, Steven survived the attack.
When Steven’s father first asked custom home builder Dan Wallrath if he would remodel their two-story home for more accessibility, is initial reaction was no as his company only built custom homes. However, a father’s heart is not easily dissuaded as Steven’s father went on to explain Steven’s injuries and showed Dan their home’s inaccessibility for someone with Steven’s physical injuries. A few photos and emotion-filled minutes later, Dan knew he had to do something to help. “I took Steven’s story back to the Bay Area Builders Association’s Board of Directors and suggested that the Association come together to help Steven. Everyone immediately got excited. All the suppliers, sub-contractors, everybody said yes, let’s do this. No one hesitated,” noted Dan.
The year was 2005 and Steven’s project marked the beginning of what Dan describes as “the incredible opportunity” to give these men and woman back their lives. Operation FINALLY HOME was born.