Paralyzed Iraq veteran gets generator

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A group of organizations have come together in a big way to help a soldier. Sgt. Dwayne Cole was shot on a base while serving in Iraq- it paralyzed him from the chest down. Because of his condition, frequent power outages at his home have been very dangerous -- until now.

Those groups are stepping in with a generator and finally, that generator is getting installed today. Sgt. Cole says it is a relief for his family.

You may remember his face-- two years ago; we introduced you to Sgt. Dwayne Cole and Homes for Our Troops- an organization that built Sgt. Cole's family a handicapped accessible home.

"Just when you think you can reach your highest high and the highest emotion you've ever experienced up pops another one and it supersedes the next one," said Larry Archer with  Homes for our Troops Build Brigade.

That was certainly the case for Sgt. Cole Wednesday afternoon, as he got a second dose of help. Sgt. Cole says his home is great-- unless the power goes out.

"Electricity is very important for life sustainment, because I'm prone to autonomic disreflexia, which can be fatal, so being that I can't control my body temperature, it's very important that I have heating and cooling and all the other amenities in the house," he said.

Since he moved in, his power has gone out multiple times. But not anymore. Organizations from across the country-- including the one that built his house- made it possible for crews to install this generator today.

"This is gonna automatically start when the power goes out, so it'll be a big help for him," said Ivan Lopez-Rodarte with Canter Electric.

Sgt. Cole got his generator so quickly, because someone else- who never met him- gave up her spot.

"I wish I could give her a hug and a kiss and tell her thank you so much because this is gonna alleviate a lot of stress. I won't have to worry about leaving the house when there's a power outage to go to a hotel or anything like that," he said.

All of the organizations that participated said helping a soldier was just the right thing to do.

Cole served for 8 and a half years before getting hurt. The organizations involved have been working since April to get Cole a new generator. "Renovating Hope" and "The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center" coordinated the effort.

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