“Homes For Our Troops” opens door for wounded veteran Robert Barber

Gets keys to new home in Chapin Saturday

It was a parade for a hero.

More than 150 people, cheering and waving flags, lined Glenwood Drive in Chapin Saturday morning. Their message to Sgt. Robert Barber and his family was simple: Welcome Home!

Sgt. Robert Barber cuts the ribbon on new house as his family watches. Photos by Sandy Coots.)

A motorcycle group called the Patriot Guard Riders led the procession and escorted the family to their new home.

The non-profit organization Homes For Our Troops builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans. For the Barber family home, Gage Construction of Chapin was the project contractor.

Link to Initial Sgt. Barber story

Saturday was the “Key Ceremony” and flag raising.

“On behalf of the people who donated to help get this house built and Homes For Our Troops and our whole family, I’d like to give you a ceremonial key to your home,” said Bill Ivey, Executive Director of Homes For Our Troops.

Barber’s youngest son Aiden helped him cut the ribbon.

“There’s over 100 complete adaptabilities in the home, like pull down cabinets, wider doorways, pull down shelving in the closets,” said Barber. “Pretty much everything in the house has some sort of thought put into it regarding the person that’s in a wheelchair or that needs more accessibility.”

In addition to the special adaptive features in their new home, the family was also part of choosing the homes finishes.

“We didn’t think they’d let us do as much as they did,” said Barber. “From the exterior to the backsplash, to the colors on the walls, the color of this wooden floor, the tile, everything. They let you personalize the house.”

Not only does Homes For Our Troops build houses. Its tagline is: ‘Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives.

“We don’t see what we do as charity, because this isn’t charity,” Ivey said. “We see ourselves as an organization that can help the American people repay a debt we owe these men and women who have been so badly injured and made such significant sacrifices. The really important part is helping our veterans get on with their lives and rebuild their lives. We stay with our veterans after we hand them the key, they’re part of the family, family is forever.”

For Barber the community support and this new home make him more determined to make a difference in the future.

“You can’t really ever move on, but you feel you have to do the best you can to live your life to the fullest or it’s almost like disrespecting them because they gave their lives up so that we could live on,” he explained. “It does make you feel better knowing that those folks support you and they want to help.”

Barber and his family applied for the specially adapted home in 2013. Homes For Our Troops is based in Tauton, Mass.