Organization helps renovate homes for Canadian veterans
Chris Klodt's life was turned upside down in an instant.
Nine years ago, the retired corporal was on patrol near a remote base in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan when he and his fellow soldiers came under fire.
"(It was) an ambush, there was a firefight and an exchange of rounds. I ended up getting shot in the neck," Klodt said.
The injury left him a quadriplegic.
And for many veterans, such as Klodt, returning home presents a new set of challenges.
But Renos for Heroes is doing its best to ease the transition.
The organization, which is mostly funded by donations and in part by the Defence Department, helps renovate homes for disabled soldiers.
It was started by master contractor Jim Caruk four years ago, after he heard about soldiers who were struggling to deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Out of the blue, Caruk contacted Klodt and asked him how he could help.
"(I said) 'if you could have anything, what would it be?'" recalled Caruk. "He said 'I would love my shop again – I would love to work with my hands.'"
And now Klodt has a new workshop, tailored to his mobility needs.
"I love carpentry and it is my hobby," Klodt said. "It is what keeps me sane."
Capt. Wayne Johnston served in Bosnia and was a repatriation officer.
Last September, Renos for Heroes built him a new kitchen and he said he's grateful for the help.
"I could not sit and negotiate with a contractor … I would lose my raspberries," Johnston said.
"I've gone through a lot of stressful times, so this just lets me get away from it," he added.
In total, the organization has completed 10 projects, mostly concentrated in Ontario. But the plan is to eventually help veterans across the country.
"They've served us. They've give it all. I mean, what does it take for us to give a little back," said Caruk.
With a report from CTV News' Scott Laurie