Helping a Hero held a welcome home ceremony for Army Cpl. Sue Downes on Nov. 9 in Towne Lake. (Courtesy Towne Lake)

By Danica Lloyd | 3:33 PM Nov 10, 2021 CST | Updated 3:33 PM Nov 10, 2021 CST

Helping a Hero, a Houston-based charitable organization that has awarded more than 100 homes to wounded warriors, held a welcome home ceremony for Army Cpl. Sue Downes on Nov. 9 in Towne Lake.

Downes joined the military following the 9/11 attacks and lost both of her legs in 2006 when she was hit by sniper fire in Afghanistan. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient is the first female double amputee soldier to receive a home in Houston through the nonprofit, according to a news release.

Helping a Hero partners with homebuilders, communities and veterans on each home. Recipients are responsible for a $50,000 mortgage in addition to selected upgrades beyond the organization’s budget, to live in the home as their primary residence for at least 10 years and to use the VA Specially Adapted Housing grant if eligible.

“All our homes are built with love and care, but this one was built with honor. We are thrilled to have worked with Helping a Hero in providing our popular Waterlily plan, which incorporates universal design (ADA) features and thus a great fit for Sue’s needs,” Caldwell Homes President Todd Johnson said in a statement. “As a veteran, it’s a joy to see an American hero being honored on Veteran’s Day week, and we’re grateful for her service.”

Downes was treated to a boat parade, a live performance by country musician Lee Greenwood and was welcomed by neighbors holding handmade signs. Celebrity chef Paula Deen and Ashley Furniture donated home furnishings.