Residents of the Legacy Lakes community in Aberdeen, NC, welcomed new neighbors on Tuesday, August 18, when SGT (Ret) Jonathan Rivenbark and his wife moved into their new home.
Built by McKee Homes and provided to the Rivenbark family with only a $50,000 mortgage, the home is part of the Helping A Hero program that works with builders, suppliers, landowners and communities nationwide to provide homes for disabled veterans.
HelpingaHero.org selected SGT (Ret.) Jonathan Rivenbark as the recipient of the Legacy Lakes Hero Project new home. Sgt. Rivenbark spends the majority of his time in a wheelchair and uses a stimulator to help fire the muscles in his legs. Jonathan and his wife Yulia are excited about moving into their specially adapted home and living a more independent daily life in Legacy Lakes.
The Rivenbark residence features wider door openings and hallways, lower counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, zero-threshold entries at showers and exterior doors, and a sidewalk surrounding the home to better accommodate SGT (Ret) Rivenbark’s disabilities and wheelchair.
“We were delighted to be a part of this worthy effort to provide for our nation’s veterans in a manner that honors their service, supports their families, accommodates their continued recovery
and assures their independence,” said Pat McKee, president of McKee Homes.
Each Helping A Hero home is provided with a minimal mortgage in planned communities where veterans receive ongoing support from neighbors, home owners associations, and other nearby service and veterans organizations. McKee Homes has previously built three adaptive homes for military veterans, though this is the first time we have partnered with Helping A Hero.
Helping a Hero’s executive director, retired colonel Jeff Ragland, said that recipients are required to carry a mortgage of about $50,000 and commit to staying in the home at least 10 years. “We want to empower them,” he said. “We don’t want to give them a handout; we want to give them a hand up.”
McKee Homes contributed $50,000 toward the price of the home through its Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund. They also coordinated well over $200,000 in contributions of labor, material or both from building suppliers and vendors eager to support the project. Developer Mountain Real Estate Capital donated the lot at Legacy Lakes, near Pinehurst.
The Dedication Ceremony at which SGT (Ret) Rivenbark and his wife, Yulia, assumed ownership of their home drew a crowd of neighbors, friends and dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Dan Forest and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.