RENO — A Marine who lost a leg and underwent more than 20 surgeries after being critically wounded in a 2010 explosion in Afghanistan has moved a big step forward in rebuilding his life.
A group of volunteers handed over the keys Saturday for a new Reno house to Sgt. Thomas “Trey” Humphrey and his wife, Lindsey, who are expecting their first child in July.
The 1,739-square-foot home, valued at about $275,000, was donated to the couple as the first such project sponsored by the Reno chapter of the Texas-based organization Defenders of Freedom.
About 100 people, including Humphrey’s parents, military officials and representatives of Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, attended a dedication ceremony at the house.
Humphrey, 29, a graduate of Foothill High School in Henderson, thanked the volunteers. The project to build the home was supported by the Nevada Military Support Alliance and more than 50 other local organizations.
“I guess all I really have to say is how thankful we are for this blessing,” Humphrey said. “Laying in the hospital bed two years ago, I knew our lives were going to change drastically, and I never imagined they would change for the better.
“The fact that there’s a community out there willing to pour that much time and support into helping my wife and me blows me away. We can’t begin to describe how thankful and blessed we feel, and we are excited to give back to the community that made our dream possible.”
Humphrey has said he plans to seek a graduate degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Nevada, Reno and hopes to work for Veterans Affairs, the city of Reno or a nonprofit group.
Humphrey suffered severe leg, arm, facial and brain injuries when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in November 2010 as his squad was maneuvering on an enemy machine gun position.
He has since undergone some two dozen surgeries and been fitted with a prosthesis for his right leg, which was amputated below the knee.
According to its website, Defenders of Freedom awards homes mortgage-free to the most severely wounded service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan so they can live more normal, independent and productive lives as they adjust to changes spurred by combat.
Charles Bluth, former owner of the Cal Neva Lodge on Lake Tahoe’s north shore, jump-started the project by donating a lot valued at $60,000 in the Somersett development for the home.
Lindsey Humphrey said she and her husband are looking forward to raising their child in the home.
“Since the day Trey was injured, I always imagined having to raise our children in a hospital environment,” she said. “I had no idea what the generosity of people could bring to our family.”
Lindsey Humphrey said her family has “been beyond blessed.”