MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group dedicated to helping veterans presented the keys to a new accessible home to a wounded Minnesota veteran.
Jack Zimmerman lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan. On his 27th birthday Monday, the nonprofit organization Helping a Hero worked with local partners to present this home in Elysian to him and his family.
Right past Beaver Dam on German Lake just outside Elysian, sits a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home, built for a hero.
Jack Zimmerman followed his grandfather’s footsteps and joined the Army. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and on March 9, 2011, while on patrol, Jack stepped on an IED. He was rushed to a military hospital where both of his legs were amputated above the knee. He also lost three fingers.
“When I finally woke up from my coma and I realized what was going on back home, and what everybody was doing for my family, and covering for the things that I could not do, I thank you,” Zimmerman said.
Jack thanked the crowd for all the help they gave his wife Megan and sons William and Benjamin while he was on the mend. He was all smiles when Senator Ted Cruz presented him with the keys to his new home.
“I choose to be happy every day and make sure that I am grateful for all the things that I do have, because I realize how precious life can be,” Zimmerman said.
Now the family can live in a house that was designed so Jack can do the things he needs to do.
“It’s so cool to be the dad that I want to be and to be the husband that I want to be,” Zimmerman said. “I’m able to do things, like I’m able to take out the garbage do the things a husband wants to do for his wife.”
Inside the home, everything is built with Jack in mind — cabinets, ovens and sinks all within reach helping restore his independence.
“When I travel, all I want to do is get back to my shower,” he said. “It’s probably one of my favorite features of the house.”
Jack says he will never be able to say how much he appreciates all that has been done for his family.
“I thank you, because you guys have gotten me to where I am today,” he said.
HelpAHero.org has been around for 10 years and has built 100 homes in 22 states. Jack’s home is the first built in Minnesota.