Disabled veteran breaks ground on new home in Belchertown

(Western Mass News photo)

A disabled veteran needed a ramp to get in and out of his Chicopee apartment, but the property management company said it couldn't be done.

Now, one year later, the 26 year old is building his very own home and broke ground today.

"It's pretty cool to be 26 and be building my own house," said Kevin O'Brien.

Three years ago, O'Brien's world turned upside down. The avionics technician - who served in the military for nearly a decade - was out to dinner when he suddenly collapsed.

Doctors found a tumor in his brain and O'Brien was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

After surgery, O'Brien moved into the first apartment he could find, but it wasn't handicap or wheelchair accessible. He asked the property management company to build a ramp, but they said it would take up too many parking spaces.

"It all seems to be working out for the better," O'Brien added.

Now, one year later, O'Brien moved out of his old apartment and into a new one, but in just a few months, he'll have his very own home.

"It has all the features he needs to be independent," said Betty O'Brien, Kevin's mother.

O'Brien, along with his family and close friends, broke ground at the site Monday afternoon. The lot in Belchertown will soon be transformed into a one-story home filled with ramps, wide hallways, and expansive rooms.

"This is kind of the reward that's going to keep him pushing on and wanting to do more," Betty O'Brien noted.

While the 26 year old still has a long road ahead, Betty said that this is a step in the right direction for Kevin and exactly what he needs to keep fighting.

"It's difficult, but Kevin is determined and he has a very strong will, strong spirit," Betty O'Brien explained.

Construction has already begun and this home is set to be finished by the end of the summer.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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