Almost 15 years to the day since losing both her legs while deployed as a gunner in Afghanistan, Cpl. Sue Downes (retired) is the proud owner of a new, specially adapted home, thanks to the non-profit organization Helping a Hero and local homebuilder Caldwell Homes.
“All our homes are built with love and care, but this one was built with honor,” says Todd Johnson, president of Caldwell Homes and West Point alum who served two tours in Iraq.
On Nov. 28, 2006, moments after she was shot in the hip, Downes was caught in a massive explosion when her Humvee hit several landmines causing significant damage to her spleen, kidney, intestines, hip and legs. Substantial blood loss forced doctors to remove both her legs.
After multiple surgeries, rigorous therapy and a move to Texas, the journey to her new, specially built home is complete.
“We are thrilled to work with Helping a Hero to provide our popular Waterlily plan which incorporates universal-design (ADA) features and thus a great fit for Sue’s needs. As a veteran, it’s a joy to see an American hero being honored during Veteran’s Day week, and we’re grateful for her service.”
This marks the second, specially adapted Helping a Hero home built in Towne Lake. Caldwell Communities, developer of the top-selling northwest Houston community, donated the homesites for both homes.
“We are so blessed and grateful to play a part in honoring Cpl. Sue Downes, an American hero. Her life has been forever changed through her service to our country and no acts we might take to help her begin to compare to the incredible sacrifice she has made for all of us as Americans,” says Fred Caldwell, chief executive officer of Caldwell Communities. “We’re honored that Cpl. Sue Downes chose Towne Lake for its award-winning lifestyle and ultimately because she felt a sense of home when she visited. It’s our desire to develop and create communities that enrich lives, and we look forward to Cpl. Sue Downes and her family creating memories in Towne Lake for years to come.”
“When I came to Towne Lake, it just felt like a breath of fresh air,” said Corporal Downes, noting the community’s one-of-a-kind lifestyle, 350-arce lake and miles of winding trails.
Her new Towne Lake home features an open floor plan with universal design (ADA) features such as six-foot wide doorways giving her the freedom to move around her home.
The popular Caldwell Homes’ Waterlily Plan is a three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home with a stunning kitchen featuring an oversized granite island and Kent Moore cabinetry, spacious owner’s suite with zero-entry shower, designated study, dual walk-in closets in the primary suite, expansive outdoor living space and two-car garage.
“Of all the homes we’ve built for our wounded veterans, this one required the fewest changes given it’s already specially designed with ADA-accessible features and aging in place in mind,” noted Meredith Ilier, chairman emeritus and founder of Helping a Hero’s Wounded Hero Home Program.
Centered around the Houston area’s largest private recreational lake, the 2,400-acre community was named the Greater Houston Builders Association’s 2019 Master-Planned Community of the Year and the winner of a 2020 Houston Business Journal Landmark Award.