#TeamAndrew; One year later - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

#TeamAndrew; One year later

Posted: Updated:
APISON, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) -  
Retired Army Specialist Andrew Smith and his wife, Tori, watched as the community built their house from the ground up.
     
The couple moved into the handicap accessible home nearly a year ago and say everything about the volunteer-built house is perfect.

"Every time we walk in the door we're still like, holy smokes, this is crazy," Andrew Smith said, "We have this awesome home that I'm completely independent in, handicap-accessible."

More than a thousand volunteers built the Smith's house to give Andrew back his independence. In the eyes of a US Army Veteran, independence is everything.

"We always talk about, you can't wake up in a bad mood," Tori Smith said, "Because you wake up and you're like "I'm in a house that complete strangers built for me and then left before we could thank you."
     
Specialist Andrew Smith lost both legs after stepping on an IED (improvised explosive device) while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
     
He spent the next year recovering and re-learning how to walk. Channel 3 was with Andrew and Tori at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland during part of that recovery.
After those stories the community rallied to make sure the soldier and his wife could finally feel at home.

"We were married two months before I was injured," Andrew said, "So we didn't even get to open our wedding gifts before I was injured. So we're at the hospital for 22 months so when we moved into the house was really when we had our first everything."
   
Along with celebrating their first Christmas and other holidays at home it has been taking on daily chores that brings them joy.

"He's out in the yard almost every day working on it and he really loves it," Tori said, "And that's a form of therapy for him too."
    
Inside the home, Andrew likes to spend his time in the kitchen.

"Part of my recovery, I wasn't able to eat food for a long time," Andrew said, "So cooking was like my coping. So now I cook a lot."

The kitchen has low counter tops, front access to all appliances and hardwood floors for Andrew's wheelchair.
    
All rooms were designed with his wheelchair in mind.
    
The bathroom even has a roll-in shower, which Andrew calls the most important room in the house for handicap-accessibility, because it's where he spends most of his time in a wheelchair.  

Now living in a home of 3,000 square feet plus eight acres of beautiful land, the Smith's were put on the spot to find out if there are there any plans to grow the family.

"Yes there will be plans for children in the future," Tori and Andrew said jokingly.

Andrew and Tori now get the chance to be on the volunteering end of a Steps2Hope project.
     
A fellow army veteran and friend of Andrew and Tori's, who is also from the Chattanooga area, is about to receive the same kind of generosity from the community.

To learn more about the upcoming Steps2Hope project to build a house for Jason Smith, click here.

Powered by Frankly