ST. GENEVIEVE COUNTY, MO (KPLR)-- A badly wounded Marine from Jefferson County is about to have his dream home built before his eyes. But for Justin McLoud, the dream is different than it once was. He is a triple amputee who will need a specially constructed home to make life easier. And there’s a group out there that specializes in just that.
The outer shell of McLoud’s new home will be built in just three days. It would seem like a Herculean feat. But when you meet Justin McLoud, you quickly learn nothing is impossible. The fact that he’s hear at all borders on miraculous.
“I actually died for like eight minutes,” he said. “I flat lined and they were able to bring me back and stuff, and saved as much of the body as they could for me.”
He was serving in Afghanistan when was seemed routine suddenly became life-changing.
“We were just out on a regular foot patrol and we took contact. And we were just trying to flank the enemy and my engineer stepped on a pressure plate and we both got blown up.”
He would lose both legs and an arm. Returning home would bring many challenges, the first of which was being strong for his wife and their little boy, now two years old.
“I didn’t want to freak them out so much so. I just tried to take it as best as I can. Try to look at the positive things and suck it up.”
Amber McLoud appreciates all he’s done.
“It’s been amazing. He’s my war hero,” she told us.
Life has changed, with her role as a caregiver suddenly expanding beyond their son.
“It’s definitely difficult, especially having a toddler running around. You’ve got to keep up with both of them. It’s kind of one of those things that when you’re put in a position you can either run from it or fight through it. And obviously I’m gonna fight through it.”
The fight became a little easier when the group Homes For Our Troops contacted them during Justin’s recovery. They have built 111 homes around the country for wounded servicemembers. The homes are designed to accommodate those who have lost limbs. The house, in northern Ste. Genevieve County, will be a blessing.
“So much easier,” Amber said. “It was one of the first things that I was worried about. How are we gonna get a house that can accommodate for a wheelchair and can accommodate that he’s gonna be able to reach things that he needs, and when Homes for Our Troops came around and everything just laid out perfectly.”
Doreen Lewis from Homes For Our Troops flew in from Boston to oversee the weekend’s construction project. She says the smile on Justin’s face as he surveyed the foundation Thursday evening is a reflection of their mission.
“To be able to watch Justin go through his home even with the walls not up yet and be able to get around and you can see it on his face already, the excitement that he’ll be able to get around his home and get into his son’s room.”
And for those doing the work, like contractor Clarence Tucker, the rewards are endless.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “We all thought, Boy, he’s so young. And just to be a part of it, to change his life. And anyone I talked to about coming to help, it’s just like, when do you start?”
Justin can’t wait for the start. He can’t wait to see this home spring from the Ste. Genevieve County lot.
“Very excited to see it built just in front of my eyes.”
If you’d like to pitch in, the group is looking for volunteers. They will kick off the project at 8am Friday. To get there, take Interstate 55 south to exit 162. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp. You will travel west for 4.7 miles. Cedar Trails Road will be on the right. Make the right turn and take the road to the end. Turn right at that T and Justin’s lot is the second one on the left.
If you’d like to donate, you can also go to the Homes For Our Troops website at http://www.homesforourtroops.org/site/PageServer