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Helping our troops: Volunteer group helps at home for Ryan Sykes

A total of 85 volunteers from in and around the community came together Saturday to help install the landscaping for the adaptive home being built for Navy Petty Officer First Class Ryan Sykes in Grass Valley by the Homes for our Troops organization.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

Nearly 100 volunteers descended upon the home of retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Ryan Sykes’ for a work day helping to lay down 11,000 square feet of sod.

The home, being built by the organization Homes for our Troops, is equipped with lower countertops, wide halls, a safe room and a generator that kicks on when the power goes out, among many other adaptations designed for veterans with disabilities.

Ryan Sykes addresses the volunteers who helped lay 11,000 square feet of sod in about an hour Saturday morning in Grass Valley for his new adaptive home which is almost ready for him to move into.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

The task took about an hour to complete. Afterwards Sykes and the volunteer group posed for a photo.



“Thank you. I know that it’s a lot of work,” Sykes said as he addressed the group. “It looks good, it turned out well, so thank you very much. I do appreciate it.”

Rocks used for landscaping are moved into place during Saturday’s volunteer work day at the home site of Ryan Sykes.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

On March 3, 2008, while on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan, Sykes sustained a traumatic brain injury and other life-threatening injuries, including a collapsed lung, facial fractures, damage to his bicep and pneumonia.



Today, now medically retired, Sykes maintains an active lifestyle, working towards his cycle training for the U.S. Paralympics and being able to walk again.

Volunteers help to lay sod around the home of injured Navy veteran Ryan Sykes Saturday in rural Grass Valley.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

The home’s construction is slated to be complete by late January, when Sykes is hoping to move in.

Penn Valley Homes for our Troops recipients Cody and Shanna Rice were also on hand during Saturday’s volunteer work day to show their support for Sykes and the Homes for our Troops organization.

Navy Petty Officer First Class Ryan Sykes, now medically retired, speaks with a pair of volunteers during Saturday’s work day at his new home under construction. Special adaptive elements are being incorporated into his home to help him live easier.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

The two have been living in their special adaptive home for about a year now.

“It’s such a blessing to have the house,” Cody Rice said, adding that the house has already helped him overcome issues.

Penn Valley Homes for our Troops recipients Cody and Shanna Rice were on hand to show their support for fellow home recipient Ryan Sykes during Saturday’s volunteer workday.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

“Before I was limited to just the couch or wheelchair,” Rice said.

The Rices’ whole house generator has also come in handy during power outages over the summer.

11,000 square feet of sod are put into place around the home of Ryan Sykes’ new adaptive home.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

“The power goes out, the family comes over,” Rice said jokingly.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230

Ryan Sykes and his service dog Docker are photographed in front of Sykes’ new home under construction made possible by the group Homes for our Troops.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com
Volunteers gather for a photo following the volunteer work day at the home of Ryan Sykes Saturday in rural Grass Valley.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

 


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