by: Malley Jones

Posted: Nov 9, 2021 / 05:52 PM CST / Updated: Nov 9, 2021 / 06:08 PM CST

CPL Sue Downes joined the Army in 2004. Two years later while in Afghanistan, her life changed. She and her unit hit two landmines while coming under fire by a rocket propelled grenade and snipers. She lost both legs below the knee, her liver and intestines were lacerated, and she suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“It feels like a huge relief, that you’re home and you’re safe,” CPL Downes said.

Today, she got that.

“I can have space in the hallway for my wheelchair,” CPL Downes said. “I learned the shower has a built-in seat and built in handrails, everything I would need.”

She was presented with the keys to her new accessible home in Cypress, Texas, thanks to Helping a Hero and Waco 17-year-old Marisa Kapavik.

“It has always been my dream to build a house for a wounded veteran,” Kapavik said.

Kapavik said she has been a part of the organization Helping a Hero since she was about seven years old. She raised over 40 percent of the money for Downes’s house.

“I thought it was so cool how they would fight for our country, and I feel like they’re very underappreciated, and that it was a good organization to start getting into,” Kapavik said.

One thing Kapavik did was host a 5K run in West, where they raised $13,000.

“I would like to see the rest of America’s children and just that generation do more for our veterans. It means so much,” CPL Downes said.