Video by Joseph Andrew Lee
SAN ANTONIO, Texas—After returning from Afghanistan with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, medically retired Army Nurse Corps officer Jim Gardon came home to a surprise.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the good kind.
“When Jim was deployed to Afghanistan I hired a contractor to remodel the back two rooms of the house,” said his wife Cece Gardon. “He came in, pulled out the electricity, did a haphazard job of sheet rocking and left and never came back.”
Stuck with a huge bill for incomplete work, they didn’t have the money to invest in the project a second time.
“I have some carpentry skills, some plumbing skills,” Jim Gardon said, “and I would look around at what needed to be done and just be overwhelmed and confused on what to do. I didn’t know where to start.”
The Gardons were introduced to Paul Hoffecker, the CEO of Renovating Hope by USO staff after meeting Cece Gardon at a USO Caregivers Conference. Renovating Hope secured grants from the USO and the Gary Sinise Foundation to make sure the job could be completed once and for all.
“The USO has been better than the 15 different medications the VA has tried to improve my attitude,” Jim Gardon said. “This is something that actually physically, emotionally and socially helps the soldier.”