Niagara Gazette

Communities

September 17, 2012

HOMES FOR TROOPS: Area veteran gets a free house

Niagara Gazette — NORTH TONAWANDA — Marine Cpl. Paul Schaus is just weeks away from receiving his new house through the nonprofit organization, Homes for Troops, which provides injured, returning veterans a new home, free of charge. 

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Schaus said. “I’m pretty excited.”

Homes for Troops held a volunteer day Saturday to do landscaping work at the Sherwood Avenue home. Dozens of volunteers turned out to lay down 8,500 square feet of sod, turning dirt into grass in just a few hours. 

Schaus, a Western New York Native, was injured in June 2009 while on his second deployment during a battle in Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine, losing both his legs and a finger. He went into cardiac arrest twice before being resuscitated. 

Schaus went through years of therapy in Germany and the U.S., and now has two prosthetic legs and walks with a cane. He’s excited for the accessibility of his new, 2,600 square foot ranch home. 

“I’ll be converting from my mom’s home in the town here in a few weeks,” Schaus said. “It’s a lot of stairs there, this will be nice.”

Schaus, who has been back in Buffalo for about a year, had a choice of three neighborhoods and three designs. He chose North Tonawanda for its atmosphere.

“I liked this location, I like the area,” he said. “North Tonawanda is a nice neighborhood.”

Jodie Buckley, Schaus’ cousin and executive assistant at Grand-Jude Plumbing Inc., the contractor for the home’s construction, said the neighbors in the area have been very welcoming — displaying banners and American flags when work began, and donating food for workers as construction continued.

“We are here almost seven days a week, until sundown, working,” Buckley said. “The men working have donated countless hours to the job.”

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