By Michael Regan
Niagara Gazette —
NORTH TONAWANDA — It took three long years of rehabilitation and a whole community of volunteers, but Marine Cpl. Paul Schaus is finally home.
The 24-year-old native Western New York lost both of his legs and a finger during a 2009 battle with insurgents in Afghanistan when he stepped on a land mine, barely survived the incident and spent years in military hospitals recovering from his injuries.
But when a national nonprofit group that helps severely injured veterans, Homes For Troops, moved into the picture in the spring of 2011, Schaus was one step closer to independence.
And on Tuesday, amid friends, family and fellow military veterans, Schaus received the keys to his Sherwood Avenue home — a blue, and white, four-bedroom ranch suited to the challenges he will continue to carry with him.
Described by those who know him as a quiet and humble man — characteristics that the neighborhood itself appeared to possess — Schaus thanked his family and the organization before accepting ownership of the house from Home For Troops in front of a crowd onlookers who came to show their support.
"I'm not a big talker," Schaus said, before later adding: "This is insane."
With two simultaneous wars and hundreds of thousands of troops overseas in various capacities over a decade, more than 50,000 veterans have been wounded in the last 11 years, according to "You could have picked another area to live," Ortt told Schaus. "As a veteran I want to thank you for your service and sacrifice. As your mayor I want to welcome you to the neighborhood."