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Health News Florida

Veteran Gets New Home For The Holidays

Former Army Sgt. Justin Lansford will be home – truly home - for the holidays this year. The Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran and his wife were handed the keys to a brand new, three bedroom bungalow in Tampa’s Seminole Heights thanks to the Gramatica Family Foundation.

This is the fourth home given to a wounded veteran in the Tampa Bay area by the Gramatica Foundation, but it’s the first built entirely with local donations.

That’s what attracted Walgreens district manager Terence Collins, who said his company likes partnering with the Gramatica Foundation.

“Just because of what they do for the veterans, the passion that they have, actually the fact that it’s local,” Collins said.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer kicker Martin Gramatica and his brothers, Bill and Santiago, started the foundation to build wounded veterans homes using their family company’s structural insulated panel systems (SIPS). Martin Gramatica also involves the youth soccer team he coaches so the children learn to honor veterans and give back to their community.

The light blue, single story home is wheelchair accessible with wide door openings, all one floor level and even a roll-under kitchen sink.

The adapted features are a blessing for Justin Lansford, who lost his left leg in a roadside bombing while serving in Afghanistan. But he also has his own favorite features in the home.

“You know, a guy’s going to be a guy.” Lansford said, chuckling. “I was pretty impressed by the garage and the deck and the grill, pretty blown away. But also, I am the cook in the house so the kitchen is pretty nice.”

And he hopes to be moved in in time to cook the family Thanksgiving meal there.

Tampa Police escort veteran Justin Lansford and his wife Carol to their new home where more than 50 people showed up for the dedication.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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Tampa Police escort veteran Justin Lansford and his wife Carol to their new home where more than 50 people showed up for the dedication.

Former Bucs' kicker Martin Gramatica addresses the crowd before handing over keys to the house to Carol and Justin Lansford while the Patriot Guard stands watch.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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Former Bucs' kicker Martin Gramatica addresses the crowd before handing over keys to the house to Carol and Justin Lansford while the Patriot Guard stands watch.

The youth soccer team, Tampa Bay United, that is coached by Martin Gramatica and helped with the veterans' house.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The youth soccer team, Tampa Bay United, that is coached by Martin Gramatica and helped with the veterans' house.

The backyard deck is at the same level as the indoor floors and has a ramp making it wheelchair accessible.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The backyard deck is at the same level as the indoor floors and has a ramp making it wheelchair accessible.

The kitchen also is wide enough to make it easy for wheelchair to move around and slip under the kitchen sink.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The kitchen also is wide enough to make it easy for wheelchair to move around and slip under the kitchen sink.

The double wide door and same floor level make the outside deck easily accessible for a wheelchair.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The double wide door and same floor level make the outside deck easily accessible for a wheelchair.

Justin Lansford was excited about having a garage and tools where he can tinker around.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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Justin Lansford was excited about having a garage and tools where he can tinker around.

The grill that was donated as part of the new home for wounded veteran Justin Lansford.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The grill that was donated as part of the new home for wounded veteran Justin Lansford.

Justin Lansford and his wife, Carol, who raises service dogs, stand before a crowd of more than 50 people who came to their home dedication.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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Justin Lansford and his wife, Carol, who raises service dogs, stand before a crowd of more than 50 people who came to their home dedication.

All of the home's thresholds are at the same level making the home wheelchair accessible.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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All of the home's thresholds are at the same level making the home wheelchair accessible.

The day was more than a dedication, it was a "party" for all who contributed and supported the effort. Justin Lansford asked for everyone in the crowd to stop by and say hello so he and his wife could thank them personally.
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
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The day was more than a dedication, it was a "party" for all who contributed and supported the effort. Justin Lansford asked for everyone in the crowd to stop by and say hello so he and his wife could thank them personally.

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