Kris Recendez tears up as she and husband, reitred Army Sgt. Jude Recendez, tour their new home. The home was built by Homes for our Troops, and was built to accommodate Jude's wheelchair.
At their wedding Saturday, a justice of the peace reminds the Fredericksburg couple of just how far they've come since Jude Recendez's 2006 injury and the hasty wedding they had in two years ago.
"When you first joined your hands and hearts two years ago you had no idea where life would take you. You promised to honor and love and cherish each other though all things," he says. "Life has surely brought you both wonderful blessings and difficult tribulation."
"The justice of the peace is referring to the two legs Jude
Recendez lost during battle in Iraq in 2006, and subsequent years of surgeries and painful rehab the 29-year-old and his wife have been facing.
In part due to the treatments, they also postponed their dream wedding two years ago, says Kris Recendez.
"It wasn't something we were able to do so we just went to the court and got married," she says.
But she still dreamed of the grand wedding she never had and the wedding dress she never wore. Those dreams became reality Saturday, when her husband Jude surprised her with a dream ceremony.
"My wedding dress ... we bought it four years ago, and never got to use until when until today ... right now," says Kris Recendez, still somewhat in shock. "It's amazing."
Their wedding gift, a new colonial house in Fredericksburg, comes courtesy of Homes for our Troops, a nonprofit that provides wounded warriors with homes adapted to their physical challenges.
"Amazing, there's so much room," he says. "I can go in my wheelchair from one end of the house to the other."
John Gonsalvez, who founded Homes for our Troops seven years ago, was on hand to give the gift.
"I guess you can say this is the house that America built," he says.
Gonsalvez and his organization have built 101 homes in 34 states for other wounded warriors, including Sergeant Arthur "Bunky" Woods.
"I'm a quadriplegic. I can't use my arms or my legs," Woods says. "Having a home like mine has given me a new lease on life."
Escorted by an honor guard in dress blues, Jude and Kris proudly walked together into their new home under a canopy of flashing steel sabers.
"This is the start of our lives basically," says Kris Recendez. "This is a home where we can grow old."
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