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Program Celebrates "Heroes At Home"

There is nothing like than being home for the holidays, and that is especially true for veterans just back from Iraq and Afghanistan. But what happens when they return home wounded and with different needs?

For Jeremy Weissmiller, just getting up his front steps is extremely dangerous. The stairs are rickety, his legs unsteady, and one fall could leave him permanently paralyzed.

"I have broken my left leg and my right arm, broken ribs and ruptured discs," he explains. "I've been told if I fall just right then I am going to become a full paraplegic."

Weissmiller served in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured and re-deployed repeatedly.

"It was a great joy and a dream of mine to… to be able to do what I did for my country," an emotional Weissmuller tells Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman. "I do not regret it and I would go back and do it all over again."

"He's a dad and he's a man and he wants to do these things," says his wife, Melissa. "And at 30 years old, he's still learning what his body can't do now."

Walking with crutches leaves Weissmuller in excruciating pain, so he spends part of his time in a wheelchair. His dream home, built on a hillside, only adds to the problem. Enter: Sears and its Heroes At Home program.

Sears teamed with volunteers from the nonprofit Rebuilding Together and went to work to make the veteran's mountain home more handicap-friendly.

This tough Marine admits it's difficult to ask for and to accept the help. But when volunteers complete their work, Weissmuller will have a wheelchair-accessible shower, wider doorways and a lift, so he can avoid those dangerous steps.

"While the VA and the medical system can address the psychological and medical needs, on the housing side there isn't much in the way of resources, says Gary Officer, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together.

Before the home makeover, Weissmiller couldn't maneuver through the house, depriving him of the simplest things. Now he full access to the kitchen and bathroom.

And because his bedroom was down a flight of steps, Weissmiller has spent the last three years sleeping in the living room.

"I can actually sleep in a bed now instead of having to stay in a reclining chair," he says.

"Jeremy is just a model of a person," says Tom Aiello, Sears Holdings vice president. "You see him, you see his family, you see how he's so endearing. You want to help him and his family."

Says Melissa, "He was bound and determined to get down there and shake all their hands and say thank you to them for all they have done."

This holiday season the greatest gift for the family is the security of knowing their house is no longer a danger for dad.

So what words of advice does Weissmiller have for other injured veterans out there?

"Please get the help you need to move on and live a healthier, happier life," he says. "Not only for yourself, but for your family."

So far, Heroes At Home volunteers have renovated 250 homes for injured veterans.

To learn more about the program and how you can make wishes come true for military familes, visit Sears' Heroes At Home Wish Registry.

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