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Your Chicago: Helping A Wounded Iraq War Veteran

Army Sgt. Cameron Crouch, left, and his wife, Christy. (Courtesy: Crouch family)

Army Sgt. Cameron Crouch, left, and his wife, Christy. (Courtesy: Crouch family)

Rob Johnson Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is the weekday anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago evening...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Army Sgt. Cameron Crouch of Mahomet was severely injured in Iraq in 2007. Both his legs had to be amputated below the knee.

After months of physical rehab, he headed back home to central Illinois to a donated house. But it turns out the house wasn’t right for someone in a wheelchair.

That’s where a group of generous volunteers stepped in, CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.

Cameron and Christy Crouch’s Mahomet home was perfect on the outside, but on the inside it just wasn’t right.

“I didn’t think about what was going to happen at 3 in the morning, when you’re half asleep,” says Cameron, who uses a wheelchair. “That’s when I started banging into things and ripping the finishing off of stuff.”

Enter design students from the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, led by interior designer Carol Cisco, who heard about the veteran’s story and wanted to help. She asked her fellow students if they’d like to apply their skills.

And they did. So on their off-time, 10 design students went to the Crouch’s house to take a look and begin making the changes. They came back to Chicago to implement their vision.

The next trip, they collaborated with carpenters and other trades, clearing out furniture that cluttered the bedroom, installing a new bed, and improving the storage space. In the bathroom, they increased the storage and installed new sinks, cabinets, and light fixtures.

The result was dramatic to Cameron.

“I can make it through here, no problem,” he says.

Back at Institute of Art, Carol and her fellow students have turned their labor of love into a charitable organization called Designing for Veterans.

“I am the Vietnam generation,” Cisco says. “We weren’t kind to vets. To see students of this generation step up to the plate and be as passionate about it as I am was awesome.”

Cameron appreciates all of the efforts.

“It does do my heart good to know that there are people out there who want to help, not just me, but everybody else,” he says.

To see a list of donors who helped with the house’s overhaul, click here.