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Veteran Gets New Home For The Holidays

Former Army Sgt. Justin Lansford will be home – truly home - for the holidays this year. The Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran and his wife were handed the keys to a brand new, three bedroom bungalow in Tampa’s Seminole Heights thanks to the Gramatica Family Foundation.

This is the fourth home given to a wounded veteran in the Tampa Bay area by the Gramatica Foundation, but it’s the first built entirely with local donations.

That’s what attracted Walgreens district manager Terence Collins, who said his company likes partnering with the Gramatica Foundation.

“Just because of what they do for the veterans, the passion that they have, actually the fact that it’s local,” Collins said.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer kicker Martin Gramatica and his brothers, Bill and Santiago, started the foundation to build wounded veterans homes using their family company’s structural insulated panel systems (SIPS). Martin Gramatica also involves the youth soccer team he coaches so the children learn to honor veterans and give back to their community.

The light blue, single story home is wheelchair accessible with wide door openings, all one floor level and even a roll-under kitchen sink.

The adapted features are a blessing for Justin Lansford, who lost his left leg in a roadside bombing while serving in Afghanistan. But he also has his own favorite features in the home.

“You know, a guy’s going to be a guy.” Lansford said, chuckling. “I was pretty impressed by the garage and the deck and the grill, pretty blown away. But also, I am the cook in the house so the kitchen is pretty nice.”

And he hopes to be moved in in time to cook the family Thanksgiving meal there.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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