By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Nine months after the first shovelful of dirt was turned over for Marine Cpl. Ammon Lang's new specially built house east of Port Angeles, the double-amputee combat veteran and his family will move to the North Olympic Peninsula.
Lang and his wife, Kiri, who have sons 2 and 4 years old, will get the keys to their new home, which is adapted for wheelchair access, at a public ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at 72 Highlands Drive, off O'Brien Road east of Port Angeles.
Lang stepped on an improvised explosive device June 11, 2011, while serving in Sangin, Afghanistan.
The blast destroyed his left leg up to just above the knee and forced the amputation of his right leg just below the knee.
The Langs now live in Kansas. Ammon Lang has said he plans to start a business — a “makers' space,” where people can work on projects — after moving into the single-story, 2,700-square-foot home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops spearheaded the construction of the home, to be free to the Langs, with the North Peninsula Building Association, said Jen Reed, marketing director for the East Coast nonprofit.
“This is the first key ceremony we have in the new year, and this is actually the first home we've built in Washington state,” Reed said.
During the ceremony, the Homes for Our Troops flag flying in the front yard will be lowered and the U.S. flag raised.
“It really symbolizes the passing of the home from Homes for Our Troops to the veteran,” Reed said.
The project, begun with an April 27 groundbreaking ceremony, was completed mostly with volunteer labor and donated materials, said FaLeana Wech, former executive officer of the building association.
“I think that [it's] a testament to the great community we live in that everyone was able to pitch in and get this house built for someone that's very deserving of a new home,” Wech said.
Wech, now the communications and public relations director for the Building Industry Association of Washington, said Hines Construction of Sequim, owned by her father, Jerry Hines, organized the work of more than 90 subcontractors and suppliers and more than 100 individual volunteers.
“We decided that this was a good cause [that] we should be involved in, and we took it on,” Hines said.
“We really did it for the veteran and not for ourselves.”
The home includes more than 155 adaptations to meet Lang's needs.
“I've built 30-some homes, and this is the hardest one I've ever built,” Hines said.
The additions, such as doors wide enough to fit a wheelchair and special cabinets with shelves that can be lowered to wheelchair height with a single pull, required stringent inspections and approval by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, Hines explained.
Other adaptations include kitchen sink and bathroom countertops high enough to allow a wheelchair to roll under them, a lower circuit-breaker box and a specially accessible shower, Hines said.
“I want to thank God and all the [subcontractors] and individuals who contributed and helped us make it happen for the veteran,” Hines said.
“And the reward is going to be when we hand him the keys.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.