Injured Marine gets dream home in Lutz

He arrives in style on custom motorcycle

LUTZ, Fla. - Justin Gaertner doesn't let anything hold him back, especially the fact that he lost both legs in a 2010 IED attack in Afghanistan.

"I'm just a stubborn person. I wanna take care of myself, I wanna be independent, I wanna get out there and do my own thing," said Gaertner.

He's got a job and girlfriend and is always up for an adventure. So when Justin wanted a motorcycle, he got one. "Everybody would have suspected someone like me to get a three wheeler, but I wasn't having it. If you are gonna ride a bike you might as well make it two wheels," he said.

His mother, isn't so thrilled with it. But Gaertner has already overcome so much.

He recovered faster than anyone would have guessed, getting up and running on prosthetic legs in no time.

Then he pushed himself harder than ever before, competing in athletic events around the country, including this year's Race Across America.

He says his drive comes from those who don't understand the sacrifice so many military men and woman have made. "All those people who look at me in disgust, who stare at me, I'm like you know what? I'm better than you. And I'm going to prove it," he said.

But Wednesday might be his biggest day so far. Justin proudly rode his modified motorcycle with the Patriot Guard Riders who escorted him to his new home.

It's a four bedroom house in Lutz that's wheelchair friendly with automatic doors, wide open spaces and no carpeting.

He was awarded the home at no cost as part of the Homes for Our Troops program.

"Getting this house is gonna be a life changer. It is the next chapter in my life, it's gonna continue to get better from here on out," Gaertner said.

Justin is keeping busy these days. He is part of the HERO corps, working with the Department of Homeland Security to track child predators on-line.

He now will be even busier, decorating the new home.

If you would like to help other veterans go to https://www.hfotusa.org
 

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