Echoes of hammers and saws fill the crisp air as members of the community gather in front of a southwest home Tuesday morning.
A banner reading “Future Home of an American Hero: Army Cpl. Christopher Bales” hangs above the garage at a home in the 10000 block of Great Sioux Road.
Individuals weave between wooden studs and construction workers to write notes of gratitude for Bales, thanking him for his service and sacrifices. They cover the downstairs bathroom, hallways and living room.
“These notes of love are a way to show our appreciation, thanks and support for the selfless dedication (Bales) and others have made for our freedom,” said Scott Wright, division president of PulteGroup. “(He) has served our country with pride, and we hope this new home will help ease his struggles and provide his family many future happy memories.”
Bales, of California, was selected in 2012 by PulteGroup and Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization that helps provide homes to veterans, to receive a mortgage-free house.
According to PulteGroup spokeswoman Jacque Petroulakis, the two-story home is 2,500 square feet with a base price of about $254,000.
“It’s really a fantastic home that has cool details to customize it,” Petroulakis said. “It’s exciting for him to be able to have a fresh start and focus on his sons.”
Bales, 38, joined the Army in 2006. Shortly after completing basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky., he was deployed to Iraq for 15 months.
In 2010, he served a second tour in Afghanistan, where his platoon was transported to support other companies heavily involved in combat.
“It’s a rough life,” Bales said. “They’ll wear you out if you let them.”
In May 2010, Bales’ troop was ambushed while he was on sniper patrol. During an attempt to draw enemy fire away from his patrol, Bales was shot in the lower back and thigh, leaving his left leg partially paralyzed. His efforts earned him a Purple Heart.
“It was just something I felt like I needed to do,” Bales said. “That was pretty much it.”
PulteGroup customized the house to accommodate Bales. The master bedroom and laundry room are on the first floor, and there are no steps to enter the front, garage or back doors.
Joel Coombs of Sun State Components of Nevada had a personal connection with the project.
“My son served in Afghanistan for a year or two,” he said. “He was able to come home healthy, but it’s still a reminder.”
Standing on a step stool, Coombs wrote a short message on the beams of the garage roof, signing it, “Putting the floor under your feet and the roof over your head — Sun State Components.”
“(Military service members) sacrifice so much for us that we don’t always see or know,” Coombs said. “This is the least we can do for them to show our appreciation.”
Tiara Roth and Jeff Lupiani of PulteGroup signed a note in the entryway of the master bedroom reading, “For our hero: Thank you for your service. May your home be filled with lots of love and joy.”
“It’s important to give back for everything they do for us,” Lupiani said. “It’s something we can be proud of.”
Though Bales is set to receive the house in January, he plans on visiting the home for the first time Dec. 7.
“I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity,” he said. “I definitely cannot say that enough. I’m grateful for all the folks involved. It’s been pretty amazing.”