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‘Operation Finally Home’ Could Build 2 Houses for Disabled Veterans

The Northern Illinois Homebuilders Association would build the homes and the city of St. Charles would donate city land to build two homes for wounded veterans, one of whom lost a foot in Iraq and has an autistic son.

Members of the St. Charles City Council’s Planning and Development Committee on Monday saluted wounded veterans as they voted unanimously to recommend formal council approval of a proposal to transfer two city-owned residential properties to the “Operation Finally Home” program.

The council action came with words of support from 2nd Ward Alderman Cliff Carrignan, the committee chairman, and other aldermen, who applauded the efforts of John Hall Jr., who initiated the project with inquiries to the city in July 2010 about properties that might be suitable for such a project.

Planner Matt O’Rourke, of the St. Charles Community Development Department, said the city staff looked through the city’s properties for ones that would accommodate homes equipped for returning wounded veterans.

Such homes might require special design considerations — perhaps a wheelchair ramp, for example, or wider doors and specially equipped bathroom fixtures such as handrails, or related features.

O’Rourke told the aldermen that the city has two lots west of Route 25 and south of Park Avenue that fit the bill. North 14th Avenue could be extended south to provide a private access drive to both lots, O’Rourke said.

Hall said the effort, originally headed up by the Fox Valley Homebuilders Association, now is under the direction of the Northern Illinois Homebuilders Association, which absorbed the Fox Valley group when the two associations merged.

“We’ve got fantastic support for this,” Hall told the aldermen. “We’re getting suppliers and manufacturers in line, and already have selected our first veteran.”

That veteran, Hall said, lost his foot to an improvised explosive device — or IED — while serving in Iraq. He said he hopes to begin construction of a 2,500-square-foot home for the man and his family, which includes an autistic son and a mother-in-law and father-in-law who live with them.

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