Volunteers renovate wounded veteran's home


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and photojournalist ROBERT MCMURREY

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE


Posted on February 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 7:41 PM

TAYLOR, Texas --Todd Plybon gave up his career as a chemistry teacher at Taylor High School to join the military after September 11, 2001. The University of Texas graduate served in Iraq, and later in Afghanistan, risking his life on the battlefield.

On his 15th wedding anniversary in 2009, he was injured when the vehicle he was riding in ran over an improvised explosive device.

"It destroyed the vehicle and killed two of my buddies," Plybon said. "I was thrown 45 feet, and the top of the Humvee landed on top of me."

Plybon suffered a brain injury, a collapsed lung, four broken ribs, a broken femur and a severed femoral artery.

"It's a miracle. Every single injury could have killed him," Plybon's wife Tara said.

Tara had to quit her full-time job at Dell to help with her husband's rehabilitation. Their work on remodeling their home in Taylor where they live with their 15-year-old son Liam was put on hold.

Now strangers are helping them piece their lives back together. The non-profit group called, "Heroes Night Out," nominated the Plybons for a Home Depot contest in 2012.

Tara volunteers with the group and hosts a class called the, "Caregiver's Corner" on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

The Plybons ended up winning the Home Depot contest, and the family is now receiving $25,000 in materials and free labor from Home Depot workers who are volunteering their time.

"The fact that you get to come out, give your time and impact someone's life--a patriot for our country, you feel good," said Home Depot store manager Josh Mayou. "You always walk away at the end of the day saying that was time well spent." 

The workers are remodeling the Plybon's kitchen, dining room and living room as well as building a new shed, putting in new windows and donating a tractor.

The work is expected to be completed in a month.

You can read more about the Plybons on a family blog that details the challenges of dealing with a war injury.

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