After suffering serious injuries while serving in Afghanistan, a Valley veteran is the proud recipient of a brand new home, fully outfitted to accommodate the injuries that he endured.
Army Sgt. John Ricketts served as a gunner with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan. In May of 2010, the truck he was riding in was struck by an improvisational explosive device on the side of the road. The explosion sent Rickett's truck off a cliff.
Ricketts received a severe brain injury in the attack, and broke both of Rickett's feet and ankles. While doctors focused mainly on the brain injury, Ricketts feet and ankles calcified. Once Ricketts learned how to walk again, the injuries made it too painful. Ricketts elected to have the feet amputated.
Flash-forward five years later and Ricketts has been fitted with prosthetic limbs and gets by with a wheelchair.
Staff at the Phoenix Veterans Hospital saw the strength and determination that Ricketts possessed and nominated him for the Jared Allen Homes for Wounded Warriors program.
After a long process of gutting the home that Ricketts and his fiancé, Christina Chose, J.A.H.W.W. presented Rickett with the keys to his new pad.
"None of the hallways worked, none of the doors worked, there weren't ramps to get anywhere, there were steps, the kitchens and bathrooms didn't work, so we had to completely gut this down," said Dylan Vicha, of Homes for Wounded Warriors.
Rooms were moved, and appliances installed at the level that Ricketts can reach comfortably.
A crowd of family, friends and Patriot Riders gathered outside of Ricketts' home on Friday for the ribbon cutting ceremony common every time Jared Allen's organization awards a wounded warrior with a home.
With keys in hand, this marks the beginning of an new chapter in Ricketts life. A chapter that he hopes will include completing a desert marathon, complete with running, mountain biking and swimming. A chapter that he can share with his bride-to-be.