GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - She has given much in defense of her country.
Saturday, her country gave back.
A mortage-free home in Glenwood Springs was gifted to retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Kirstie Ennis, a multi-tour war veteran and paralympic athlete.
"I am finally looking to lay some roots and call Colorado home!" Ennis wrote in a Sept. 11th Facebook post.
Ennis has endured more than 30 surgeries after almost perishing in a 2012 helicopter crash. The CH-53D Sea Stallion went down in Afghanistan while performing combat resupplies during her last deployment.
She almost died.
The accident broke her left ankle, tore her rotator cuff and labrum, injured the cervical discs of her spine, shattered her jaw, and caused severe facial lacerations and a traumatic brain injury. She learned to walk and talk again, but then underwent two amputations of her left leg, the last one above the knee.
On top of that, she still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Now for her other list.
Ennis completed a 72-day trek across mainland Britain for Prince Harry's Walking with the Wounded charity event, she's the first war veteran and amputee to grace the pages of ESPN's "Body Issue," and she's currently training for the 2018 Winter Paralympics. Among other accomplishments.
Ennis told CBS4 she's spent the last four years snowboarding in Colorado. With that experience in mind, she chose Glenwood Springs for her home's location.
Building Homes for Heroes handed the keys to the Ennis on Saturday afternoon. The national nonprofit organization builds and gifts mortgage-free homes for veterans and their families, and also completes remodels or modifications of existing homes.
"We started this organization to restore hope in our veterans that return from serving our country," says Andy Pujol, Founder of Building Homes for Heroes. "Sergeant Ennis embodies that mission wholeheartedly with her accomplishments that inspire veterans everywhere. Our organization is absolutely thrilled to present her with a mortgage-free home."
"Receiving a home from BHH opens the door to my future," Ennis said. "It will provide me the platform to be able to continue serving people, the foundation to have a family, and the opportunity to grow past my injuries."
Building Homes for Heroes gifted 28 homes in 2015, 29 in 2016, and hopes to give away 36 this year.
for more features.