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Community Effort Helps L.I. War Veteran, Who Lost Leg In Iraq, Buy New Home

LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- It was truly a home sweet home on Thursday for an American hero thanks to a team effort on Long Island.

For Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Donnelly and his fiance, Army veteran Tina McGory, the day meant independence and the American dream.

Through a VA Mortgage, the couple was able to buy a new, specially designed three-bedroom home in Lake Ronkonkoma valued at $400,000 for only $175,000, CBS 2's Dana Tyler reported.

The house is equipped with custom-heated floors and wider doorways to meet the special needs of Donnelly, who lost his right leg above the knee to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005.

It was made possible thanks to the charitable arm of the Long Island Home Builders Institute and the Town of Brookhaven, which donated the land.

"Thank you to everyone who put their time and effort in making this happen. It means a lot to both of us. Without you guys, it would have never gotten done," Donnelly said. "Thank you so much for everything you guys did."

"This today is what America is all about. It's remembering the people that stood and defended our freedom when it needed defense. It's welcoming them home, it's making them part of our community," Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine said.

Donnelly, a native of Centereach and a Newfield High School football star, served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Now a union plumber, he just happened to see a brochure application to be a homeowner.

"I had nothing to lose and everything to gain," Donnelly said.

Ground was broken in June. He and his bride to be said they are grateful and keep it all in perspective.

"A little delay because the storm, but nonetheless, here we are and we are very thankful...considering so many people lost their homes," McGory said.

"Long Island Home Builders Care" wants to give more returning veterans the chance to own their own new homes. In the works is land for a home in Centereach and six in Islandia.

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