Oconomowoc Army veteran gifted home; 'really humbling experience'

Eleven years after an Army veteran lost his legs in battle, he is receiving the keys to a new Oconomowoc home – and newfound freedom.

"It’s overwhelming. It’s a really humbling experience," said Jason Church, retired U.S. Army captain.

Church said it is a gift he never could have imagined more than ten years ago. 

"This home in particular, now, gives me a sense of permanence that I haven’t really had," Church said. 

Back in 2012, the former U.S. Army captain was on patrol in Afghanistan when his unit came across something that changed everything. 

"The unit was walking into an ambush and were now standing in a field of improvised explosive devices," said Gib Bosworth, Gary Sinise Foundation vice president. "Jason realized the IED had severed both of his legs below the knee."

It took 20 surgeries to not only save part of his legs, but safe his life. 

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"That became a very difficult time for me and those I served with," Church said. "A lot of us left more than body parts back there."

Jason Church, retired U.S. Army captain

On Thursday, July 20, Church and his Army friends raised the symbol of freedom in front of Church's new home. 

"On behalf of Gary, Lieutenant Dan himself, and all of us at the Gary Sinise Foundation and everyone in this crowd today… and America – welcome home," Bosworth said. 

"Thank you for all that you have sacrificed on behalf of this nation," said Gary Sinise (on video). 

The Gary Sinise Foundation handed Church and his wife the keys to a free, new, smart home – built specifically for his needs. 

"Just the ease of being able to take a shower is something that, as I have been an amputee for about eleven years, is the most difficult thing," Church said. 

Jason Church, retired U.S. Army captain

It is the little things that Church said will make all the difference. 

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"This country is worth fighting for, and worth sacrificing for. This gift today significantly reminds me of that," Church said. 

The Gary Sinise Foundation has gifted more than 80 homes to wounded veterans since 2011.