A veterans charity is forging ahead with plans to build a new home in Hanson for an Army corporal who lost portions of his arm and leg during a combat tour in Iraq, after two juveniles allegedly vandalized the house under construction and caused more than $50,000 in damage.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, the nonprofit building the house for Corporal Paul Skarinka and his family thanked Hanson police for apprehending the two suspects Monday night.
“We are of course very upset that this happened, and it’s unfortunate that this incident will cost the foundation time and money but the local community in Hanson has been nothing short of fantastic throughout this entire process,” said the charity, Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, in the posting. “With the help of our amazing partners we will put the pieces back together and get the Skarinka family into their new mortgage-free, handicap-accessible home, in time for the holidays.”
In a separate release, Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch said the vandalism, which wrecked installed lighting, 24 windows, and three doors, was disheartening. Police said the suspects caused damage in “excess of $50,000.”
“When a veteran and his family, who have sacrificed so much for our country, become the victim of a senseless crime it hurts us all,” Miksch said. “The parents of the two juveniles understand the pain this has caused and we appreciate their cooperation. Lieutenant [Michael] Casey and Officer [Elisha] Sullivan did a great job working with witnesses to identify those responsible.”
Police said the suspects, who weren’t named because of their ages, will be arraigned in Plymouth Juvenile Court at a later date. Their parents turned them in Monday night after authorities identified them by “canvassing the neighborhood and surveillance footage from neighbors,” police said.
In addition to the Jared Allen’s Homes group, the New England Carpenters Training Fund and Commodore Builders are also providing funds for the project, Hanson police said.
Jared Allen’s Homes directed the public to the website classy.org to donate funds for construction.
According to the fund-raising appeal, Skarinka “was eight months into his first tour of duty with the US Army when his unit came under enemy fire in Sadr City, just outside of Baghdad.”
The appeal also detailed Skarinka’s injuries.
He “suffered a severed artery and serious damage to his left arm and leg in a rocket-propelled grenade explosion,” the posting said. “After 22 surgeries which included amputation of his left leg below the knee and partial amputation of his left arm, his battle injuries remain a daily issue.”
The appeal says Skarinka and his wife currently own another home, but that residence is “not handicap accessible or conducive to his needs as a recent amputee. There are many stairs and the home is not suitable for wheelchair use. The only shower, which is not handicap accessible, is also located upstairs.”
In addition, the site describes the dwelling that Jared Allen’s Homes is building as “a brand-new, 100-percent handicap accessible home for Corporal Skarinka and his family.”
The appeal also urges members of the public to contribute to the initiative.
“You can support this project in a variety of ways: by making a donation, starting your own fund-raising page, or even starting a fund-raising team with your friends and family,” the posting says. “Funds raised here will help us make life a little bit easier for one of our nations heroes. PLEASE HELP US SERVE THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED US!”