Carrington House Welcomes Ward Taft
A remodeled, more open kitchen, wheelchair-accessible bath, and smooth flooring throughout his family’s four-bedroom house will make day-to-day life a whole lot easier for U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Ward Taft, the newest addition to the Carrington House program.
Project Manager Brandon Nicolas reports that the renovation will start in a few weeks, and says he hopes to have it completed in two months. Ward, his wife Amy, and daughters Isabella and Clara live in the home in Jacksonville, NC.
Ward’s back and brain injuries, and partial blindness, are a result of a road accident in his last combat deployment (after 15 years of service) to Afghanistan, when the vehicle he was in was hit, throwing him from the back seat into the windshield at a high rate of force. After a year of recovery and therapy, Ward returned to active duty status to complete his tenure in the U.S. Navy, using the time to mentor younger sailors.
Now accompanied by his service dog, Dr. Doolittle, Ward is earning his bachelor’s degree in emergency and disaster management at Western Carolina University, scheduled to graduate in June 2019 on a new path to a career in disaster relief.
The Carrington House remodel on his home will fix uneven floors and bumpy sidewalks that are potential trip hazards, says Brandon. “That’s something we want to correct. We’ll put in a nice level floor throughout the house and give the kitchen an open floorplan. In the master bath, we’ll install a wheelchair-accessible shower and grab bars and benches.” (Ward has balance problems and doesn’t currently need a wheelchair, but Nicolas says they’re “setting things up for a long-term outlook.”)
Outside the home, new concrete walkways will be poured, including one that connects the house to Ward’s workshop about 150 feet away.
Ward says he and his family enjoy volunteering with several organizations that support wounded Veterans. As a family, he says, they find that giving back to others is the best way to realize “how blessed we are” and to give hope to those still on the recovery journey.
Carrington House is one of the Carrington Charitable Foundation’s Signature Programs, giving wounded military Veterans who have returned from service and who need support a home they deserve and can call their own.