GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Sgt. Kirstie Ennis, a wounded Marine veteran from Milton, received a mortgage-free home from Building Homes for Heroes.
The home-gifting ceremony took place Sept. 16 in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
At age 17, Ennis enlisted in the military out of her home state of Florida in 2008. In 2012, she was serving in Afghanistan when she almost lost her life.
While piloting a CH-53D as an aerial gunner, Ennis crash-landed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. This accident broke her left ankle, tore her rotator cuff and labrum, injured the cervical discs of her spine, shattered her jaw, and caused severe facial lacerations and a traumatic brain injury. Ennis also has posttraumatic stress disorder from her time in service.
This intense accident was the start of many rounds of surgery for Ennis. After undergoing over 30 surgeries and learning to walk and talk again, Ennis’ left leg required amputation under the knee in 2015. Within a couple of months of her amputation surgery, Ennis faced further complications when her knee became infected and forced an above-knee amputation.
Despite these health setbacks, Ennis took on physically demanding challenges. She completed a 72-day trek across mainland Britain for Prince Harry’s Walking with the Wounded charity event. She’s currently training for the 2018 Winter Paralympics and she’s the first war veteran and amputee to grace the pages of ESPN’s “Body Issue,” among other accomplishments.
"Receiving a home from BHH opens the door to my future,” Ennis said. “It will provide me the platform to be able to continue serving people, the foundation to have a family and the opportunity to grow past my injuries."
The national nonprofit organization that provided Ennis’ residence builds and modifies homes for United States veterans.
“We started this organization to restore hope in our veterans that return from serving our country,” Building Homes for Heroes Founder Andy Pujol says. “Sergeant Ennis embodies that mission wholeheartedly with her accomplishments that inspire veterans everywhere.
“Our organization is absolutely thrilled to present her with a mortgage-free home.”