Home Depot, American Legion partner to remodel veteran`s home - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

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Home Depot, American Legion partner to remodel Iraq veteran`s home

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An Iraq War veteran and American hero is getting a gift she desperately needs - a new kitchen. About 75 volunteers transformed injured vet Ramina Oraha's Northwest Side home Thursday.

Air Force veteran Oraha, 28, was injured when her at the Talil Air base barrack was bombed with mortars, just one month before she was due to return home.

She was slammed to the ground and hit her head on the cement floor. Shortly after returning home, she collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room. After suffering a brain aneurysm and she was in a coma for two weeks.

She is slowly losing vision in her right eye, is unable to speak and has difficulty walking. Team Home Depot wanted to help ease that life transition for Oraha and give her a safe place to call home.

The Home Depot associate and Army Veteran Bart Zamora and Team Depot Regional Captain Manny Romero spoke with Good Day Chicago Thursday morning to explain why they chose Oraha – through her participation in the Valor Games - and what the kitchen renovations entail.

The volunteers installed flooring, replaced cabinets, updated appliances and made electrical upgrades in Oraha's kitchen. They also did some outdoor work in the backyard, including a patio.

"It will be much easier for her, especially with her disability, the way they open the walls and everything for her," Oraha's father Albert said. "It would be much easier for her to maneuver in the house."

Romero and Zamora also explained about how much the service campaign means to them and why they dedicate their time every year.

"It's fantastic. It's our way of giving back. Part of our values at home depot is to give back to our communities," Romero said. "What a fantastic way for us to give back and be with our veterans every day. Home depot has committed over $80 million over five years to home depot veterans and to rebuilding homes to bring them home and have a safe place for them to call home."

Albert Oraha spoke with FOX 32 News on site to explain that the remodel is a surprise, and share how much the volunteers' work will mean to his daughter. He couldn't thank them enough. He also wanted to thank Alderman Tim Cullerton for helping the project's execution flow so smoothly. 

"We're very honored. The 38th ward is so proud of this family and what they have contributed, what Ramina Oraha contributed and all our veterans across the country," Ald. Cullerton said. "I'm so happy to have Home Depot here. They worked so hard on behalf of all our veterans. I thank them. I thank Ramina for her service."

The Oraha family has lived in their bungalow on Lawrence for 26 years. But by Thursday afternoon, the home Ramina has known for most of her life was tailored just for her.

The work has taken a few weeks, but they plan to surprise Oraha with the finished project, since she is what's happening at her house.

Ramina Oraha came home in 2008 and went straight to hospital shortly after. Police, firefighters and veterans groups will give her the homecoming she never received, with a parade and salute.

The Home Depot Foundation and American Legion Post 1160 remodeled Oraha's home to make it more accessible for her as part of the third annual Celebration of Service Campaign.

"We'll spend 10,000 man hours working on homes in 2013," Home Depot's Richard Goodrich said. "We're really honored to work on the homes for veterans."

The campaign runs from Sept. 11 to Veterans Day, where more that 9,000 volunteers take two months out of the year to address veterans' housing needs in about 350 service projects. The foundation committed $80 million to the service campaign over five years.

To find out more and check out ways you can help out, visit The Home Depot Foundation's website.

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