Video: Volunteers raise roof on Middleboro home for soldier who lost legs in Afghanistan

Alice Elwell

In one of the biggest projects to date, volunteers from across New England organized by Homes for Our Troops took up their hammers to raise the roof for an Army soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan.

John S. Gonsalves, president of Homes for Our Troops, said hundreds of volunteers from as far away as New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire, as well as a bevy of local contractors, took part in the “build brigade” for Staff Sgt. Michael Downing’s Marion Road home.

Downing lost his legs during his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2008.

There are now 30 homes under construction across the country, said Gonsalves. But in Middleboro, where his organization built their first home, the idea has taken root and the community came out in full force.

“It’s all about community,” Gonsalves said. “I was amazed at the amount of people who came, and how fast everything is going.”

Falconeiri Construction is donating its services as general contractor, and Gonsalves said Dominic Falconeiri, patriarch of the company, put off his retirement to work at the site.

“He wanted to make this his last home,” said Gonsalves.

The build brigade kicked off the work weekend on Friday and finished the project Sunday, installing windows, doors and whatever else needs to be done to board in the house.

Gonsalves said he expects the Downings to be in their home in about 60 days.

The Enterprise