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Army Vet Who Lost Legs in Iraq War Gifted Orlando Home Custom-built by Nonprofit

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A wounded Central Florida veteran is showing his gratitude after moving into his new custom-built home.

Cameras captured the moment a yellow ribbon was cut outside U.S. Army Sgt. Chad Rozanski’s new house on Saturday. Moments later, he opened the door to his new Orlando home.

The nonprofit group Homes for Our Troops bought and fully customized the home in Orange County for the Iraq war veteran.

“This will be the first time in my adult life to have my full, complete independence,” he said.

Rozanski lost both his legs when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb while he was on patrol in Iraq.

Homes for Our Troops builds customized homes for disabled veterans who qualify.

Rozanski said he never thought any of this could have been possible.

“Finally I’m in a position of ownership and control, and that is a very good feeling,” he said.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Tom Landwermeyer, the CEO of Homes for Our Troops, said the house has more than 40 special features to accommodate his disabilities.

“Wider doorways so that he can come through in a wheelchair, wider hallways. The only thresholds in the home — so, a bump, a transition — are the four doors that go to the outside,” he said.

There’s also no boundary from the floor into the roll-in shower, which was specially designed to be wheelchair accessible.

The controls are all electronic, and the light switches and electrical outlets are the proper height. The kitchen has pull-down shelving and lowered countertops, and there’s a built-in electric generator.

The master bedroom closet also doubles as a safe room. All four walls, the floor and the ceiling are reinforced with concrete, and it has a heavy-duty steel door in case of an emergency.

Fellow wounded veterans said it’s great what Homes for Our Troops is doing: giving people who have served their country more confidence and a new lease on life.

“It’s phenomenal. It seemed too good to be true when I heard of it, you know?” said Army Sgt. Chris Short. “Now, it’s like, it’s real, so it’s amazing.”

The organization has built more than 300 homes across the U.S. They currently have nearly 80 home projects like Rozanski’s house underway; 12 of them are in Florida.

Original Source: wsvn.com

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Pelican Harbor Seabird Station Hosts Little River Neighborhood Cleanup

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A South Florida organization became the cleanup crew for Little River this weekend.

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, a nonprofit that rescues endangered wildlife, hosted a cleanup of the historic neighborhood, Sunday morning.

Officials with the organization also announced Little River will be their future location.

While the event pushed for positive environmental efforts, organizers said it also brought the community together.

“It is very important and amazing to see the community come out like this in droves to help clean up,” said environmental educator Samantha Martinez.

The free community event also featured food, games and face painting.

The organization will be breaking ground on the new land later this year.

Original Source: wsvn.com

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Post Malone, Experiencing ‘stabbing Pain,’ Postpones Show

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BOSTON (AP) — Post Malone went to the hospital again Saturday after experiencing what he described on social media as difficulty breathing and stabbing pain, forcing him to postpone a scheduled show in Boston.

It was the second time in about a week that he went to the hospital. He was treated for bruised ribs after falling into a hole on stage at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis last weekend.

“On tour, I usually wake up around 4 o’clock PM, and today I woke up to a cracking sounds on the right side of my body,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “I felt so good last night, but today it felt so different than it has before. I’m having a very difficult time breathing and there’s like a stabbing pain whenever I breathe or move.”

He pledged to reschedule the show.

“I love y’all so much. I feel terrible, but I promise I’m going to make this up to you. I love you Boston, I’ll see you soon,” wrote the singer, whose real name is Austin Richard Post.

The venue, TD Garden, said in a tweet that the show was “postponed due to unforeseen circumstances” and tickets for Saturday’s show would be honored for a rescheduled date.

Malone is scheduled to perform in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Original Article: wsvn.com

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2 Americans Captured by Russian-backed Forces Are Back on US Soil After Their Release

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(CNN) — Two Americans who had been held by Russian-backed forces for more than three months were back on US soil Friday afternoon.

Americans Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh arrived in New York City after they were released earlier this week in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine that was brokered by Saudi Arabia. Their families said they believe the men are in good health.

“We know that they are speaking, they are breathing, they are ambulatory, and they sound like themselves,” Darla Black, the mother of Huynh’s fiancée, told CNN on Friday.

The two men were captured in June while fighting for Ukraine in a battle near Kharkiv. Their pro-Russian captors, the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), is a Russian-backed, self-declared republic that has governed a breakaway portion of Ukraine’s Donetsk region since 2014.

On Saturday, the two men arrived at the airport in Birmingham, Alabama, and were reunited with family and friends. Drueke hugged his aunt, Dianna Shaw, while Huynh hugged Black.

Drueke told CNN he was “very happy” to be home.

Drueke’s and Huynh’s families, CNN previously reported, had not spoken to the Alabama men during their months-long imprisonment until they got unexpected phone calls from the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

“I have your son standing right next to me,” Bunny Drueke recalled a woman from the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia telling her.

The families did not know the prisoner exchange was in the works.

“My mind just couldn’t comprehend it because there had been no warning. It just came out of the blue,” Drueke’s mother told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Huynh’s fianceé, Joy Black, told CNN’s Erin Burnett that Huynh requested spaghetti with meat — a meal he had been craving since being in Ukraine — as soon as he returns to Alabama.

Even after being captured, their families say the men had said they have no regrets about going over to fight with the Ukrainians.

“Alex told me emphatically no, no regret,” Drueke’s aunt told CNN. “They really want people to understand that Ukraine needs our support. They need the support of all democratic nations. They need democracies to come together and push (Russian President Vladimir) Putin back.”

Four Russian-occupied areas began voting Friday in referendums on joining Russia, according to their separatist leaders, in a move that raises the stakes of Moscow’s invasion. The referendums, which are illegal under international law and dismissed as a sham by Western governments and Kyiv, could pave the way for Russian annexation of the areas, allowing Moscow to frame the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive as an attack on Russia itself.

President Joe Biden said Friday the United States will never recognize Russia’s referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine.

“The United States will never recognize Ukrainian territory as anything other than part of Ukraine. Russia’s referenda are a sham — a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter,” Biden said in a statement.

Original Post: wsvn.com

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