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Injured soldier gets new home in Moreno Valley

Gustavo Zarate's new house boasts more than 40 adaptions to help with everyday tasks

Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan gets a new home, custom built for him by Homes for Our Troops.  Moreno Valley Master Chorale sings the Star Spangled Banner at the event on Sept. 24. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan gets a new home, custom built for him by Homes for Our Troops. Moreno Valley Master Chorale sings the Star Spangled Banner at the event on Sept. 24. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By MONSERRAT SOLIS |msolis@scng.com

PUBLISHED: September 26, 2022 at 8:48 a.m. | UPDATED: September 26, 2022 at 8:48 a.m.
Article reposted from The Press-Enterprise

An injured soldier received the key to a new home — and a new life — on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Homes for our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds and donates homes for injured veterans, donated a Moreno Valley house to Gustavo Zarate, 30. It’s been adapted to help him with everyday tasks because of the injuries he suffered while serving in Afghanistan.

The home has more than 40 adaptions. They include widened doorways for wheelchair accessibility, a roll-in shower and kitchen amenities like pull-down shelves and lowered countertops, a news release states.

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Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, enters a new home custom built for him by Homes for Our Troops, sponsors and volunteers in Moreno Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Sign during the construction of the home for SPC Gustavo Zarate (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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New Home for Gustavo Zarate (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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Kitchen area for Gustavo Zarate (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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Moreno Valley Fire Department was one of the escorts to Gustavo Zarate's new home. (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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The welcoming committee as Gustavo Zarate arrives at his new home. (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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Moreno Valley Master Chorale sings the Star Spangled Banner. (Photo by Shaynah Munro)

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Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, right, and family members tour a home built for him by Homes for Our Troops in Moreno Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, right, tours his new custom-built home with his mother, Maria, in Moreno Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Zarate was injured while serving in Afghanistan. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Retired Brig. Gen. Tom Landwermeyer, president and CEO of the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops, right, shows Gustavo Zarate, center, and his father, Jose, their new custom-built home Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Gustavo Zarate, left, is greeted by Tom Landwermeyer, the president and CEO of Homes for Our Troops, and guests in front of his new home in Moreno Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 before being presented with the keys. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, center, is presented with a quilt from volunteers from the Quilts of Valor Foundation, during a Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, ceremony in Moreno Valley. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Gustavo Zarate, left, is assisted by Tom Landwermeyer, a retired brigadier general and president and CEO of Homes for Our Troops, during a Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, ribbon cutting for his new home in Moreno Valley. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, right, tours his new, custom-built Moreno Valley home, with his mother, Maria, center, and father, Jose, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Army Spc. Gustavo Zarate, 30, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, opens the door to a new home custom built for him by Homes for Our Troops, sponsors and volunteers in Moreno Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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The alterations will help Zarate with mobility and safety, the release states.

Zarate enlisted in the Army and joined as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division after high school.

While on his first deployment to Afghanistan in May 2012, Zarate was injured when shrapnel from an explosive devise hit him in the head and body, causing traumatic brain injury, the release states. Doctors said the injuries were so severe that Zarate would not survive and — if he did — he wouldn’t be able to see, walk or talk again.

But, after three weeks in a coma, Zarate slowly regained function and was able to walk with assistance.

Now, he can walk short distances but isn’t able to speak, according to Homes for our Troops.

Information: hfotusa.org/

We would like to thank the The Press-Enterprise and Southern California News Group for serving the Inland Empire and supporting the Moreno Valley Master Chorale and other non-profit organizations. To link directly to the orginal Press-Enterprise article you can follow this link.