Cosentino and Homes for Our Troops Welcome Home U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Hubert Gonzales
Case Studies, News, Top Life
October 2, 2019
Cosentino and Homes for Our Troops are proud to welcome U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Hubert Gonzales to his new, freshly renovated home in Spring Branch, Texas. Homes For Our Troops is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide to severely injured Post-9/11 Veterans like Hubert.
Since 2017, Silestone by Cosentino, the world’s leading brand in quartz surfacing, has been proud to partner with Home For Our Troops as the exclusive surface provider in these homes. Known for its strength and resilience, Silestone will help make everyday life for Veterans and their families a little easier, thanks to its high resistance to stains, impacts and scratches.
Below, Army Hubert Gonzales shares more about his experience working with Homes for Our Troops and what this new home means for him and his young family.
NAME: Hubert Gonzales
LOCATION: Spring Branch, Texas
FAMILY: Fiona (wife), Daughters: Rosebella 8 and Aurora 5
ARMED SERVICE BRANCH: U.S. Marine Corps
YEARS IN SERVICE: 8 years
NUMBER AND LOCATION OF TOURS: 1x Iraq, 1x Afghanistan, 1x Middle East (11th MEU), 1x Asia ( 31st MEU)
What called you to serve in the armed forces?
My uncle was recruited in the Philippines during the Vietnam War when nobody in the US wanted to volunteer. He eventually brought my family and me to the US with a green card visa. When I arrived here, it was a month before the invasion of Iraq, I felt in awe of this country for giving me and my family a better life so I decided to join the Marine Corps after high school, to preserve the freedom that my uncle fought for.
What injuries did you sustain in service? Tell us about your journey in recovery.
I lost my left leg below the knee from the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion, I also sustained injury on my left shoulder, minor TBI and PTSD. It has been a really long road of recovery. From March 31st, 2011 (date of injury) up to January 2015, I went through 4 surgeries trying to salvage my left foot. Each surgery I had to go through the process of recovery for six months and see if the surgery worked. During that time I was suffering from a lot of guilt and depression, my quality of life was really terrible. I wanted to do activities and be active, but I had a leg that was giving me pain and I could not use. My morale was almost non-existent. I felt very isolated, I lost the sense of brotherhood after being separated from the Marine Corps. Finally, in January 2015 after 3 years of being in pain and frustrated, I elected to have the doctor amputate my left leg. I had another surgery on my residual limb 11 months after the amputation. I have another scheduled surgery next year for another revision. This is going to be like going back to square one. The journey in recovery is not quite over yet, but I am almost there.
How did you first connect with Homes for Our Troops?
I first heard about Homes for Our Troops when a buddy of mine was going to receive his home.
Before moving into your current home, where did you live? What challenges did its design create in your everyday life?
Our previous home was in Schertz, TX. The challenge that I faced was that the shower/bathroom was not designed for a person in a wheelchair. The other challenge was the stairs to get to the second level and the stairs to get into the home. Our old home’s kitchen counter was also not designed for a person in a wheelchair due to the height and no leg room.
Tell us about when you found out Homes for Our Troops was giving you and your family a new home.
I was very excited, I felt like I just took off my 40-60 pound ruck, helmet, and the heavy body armor. It’s like getting my freedom back — the freedom to move around whether I am in my wheelchair or in my prosthetics.
Tell us about the moment you and your family first stepped foot in the home. What stands out the most from that day?
That moment that my family and I stepped into the house, the first thing that I noticed was the countertops. We did not know what to expect, we did not know if we made the right choice of picking the design or if it would go along with the rest of the house. We cannot believe that we made the right decision — every time we have guests, we’re always complimented on how good the countertops are.
What day did you move in?
We moved in the first weekend of October 2018.
How is your new home different from where you lived previously?
This new home has more space, it’s easier to get around in a wheelchair. The barriers that I had in my previous home have been eliminated when it comes to taking care of myself and my family.
How has this home improved your own day-to-day life?
On day to day basis I am able to do more activities because I know that when I get home I can take my prosthetic off and get around in my wheelchair with no issues.
How has this new home impacted your family’s life?
This home gave me my freedom back, a better quality of life, and I feel like some of the challenges I used to deal with have been eliminated.
What room do you and your family spend the most time in?
My family and I spend most of our time in the living room and kitchen areas. We watch movies as a family, the girls like to do arts and crafts and they usually use the island countertops.
Among all of the different options, why do you think Cosentino was the right choice for your countertops?
My girls play with Play-Doh, color, and paint a lot on the countertops. My kids don’t understand the meaning of the word gentle – but the countertops have been holding up really well!
Would you recommend Cosentino for friends’ homes?
Yes, I would recommend the Cosentino countertops to a friend. It’s easy to clean, durable, and the quality is amazing.
How would describe your experience with Homes For Our Troops?
My experience with HFOT has been really amazing. HFOT for me is like my second family.
Please share a favorite memory with your family since moving into your home.
So far my favorite moment with my family was the day we received and got to see the home for the first time. I remember everything like it just happened yesterday. Seeing the happiness and excitement on my family’s faces made me feel really good.