For the first time since returning home from Afghanistan in 2012, N.C. National Guard Sgt. Kyle Snyder finally has his own home.
Operation: Coming Home, which builds homes for wounded veterans in the Triangle, has almost finished a home in the Traditions subdivision for Snyder, his wife, Joann Snyder, and their children.
The organization held a ceremonial groundbreaking at the home Friday morning to honor Snyder and his family.
The Snyders have been renting homes since Kyle Snyder returned from service after being injured by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
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The attack left shrapnel in his leg and caused him to develop chronic pain syndrome. At one point, doctors thought they would have to amputate his left leg.
“I asked them to just give me a chance to get through it,” he said. He’s had 18 surgeries on his legs since then to make sure they are fully healed.
Snyder spent three years in and out of the hospital, including several months at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
“When we move in, this is a fresh start on our lives,” Snyder said at the groundbreaking ceremony. In the the coming weeks, Operation: Coming Home will plan another ceremony, where the Snyders will get the keys.
Snyder, 46, has served in the military on and off since the 1980s. He joined the Navy after high school and served in Desert Storm. He went back to civilian life in 1995 and then joined the Virginia National Guard in 1999, where he served for another year.
In 2008, Snyder joined the N.C. National Guard. In August 2012, he was sent on what would be his last tour to Afghanistan.
The Snyders and one of their five children (the others are grown or live with another parent) will move from Clayton into the new home. Kyle Snyder spent part of his childhood in Wake County and said he always enjoyed Wake Forest.
“We’re a child away from being on our own, and Wake Forest is just a really, really beautiful place,” he said.
The home, which is handicap-accessible and customized by the Snyders, will be the first the couple have ever owned.
“We’re excited because this is something we have built together,” Snyder said. “We’re just excited to be part of something special like this.”
The family didn’t request to include any special accommodations in the new home, although Operation: Coming Home does offer it, said board member Andy Ladner, an Army veteran.
Landowners donate land to Operation: Coming Home and a building company donates its services. For the Snyders, Traditions developer JPM South Developers donated a lot in the subdivision. Lennar, which has done other houses in Traditions, built the home.
The town also pitched in by waiving many fees associated with a new home.
“We’re all excited about having this home in Wake Forest,” said Mayor Vivian Jones.