GLOVERSVILLE - Veteran Chuck Hart has been cooped up in his Beech Street apartment since late January, unable to leave his home after surgery rendered him a double amputee.
However, thanks to help from Home Depot, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4660 and the Capital District Center for Independence, Hart now can do something he has waited nearly half a year for: go to Stewart's and buy a cup of coffee.
"I got my freedom back," said Hart, 61.
Veteran and double amputee Chuck Hart of Gloversville poses for a photo in his wheelchair inside his home Thursday.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Volunteers from Home Depot turned out Thursday with wood and tools, and constructed a wheelchair-accessible ramp at Hart's home.
Hart, who served as a private in the U.S. Army from 1972-75, couldn't leave his home since the beginning of the year after his right leg was surgically removed because of what his doctor called liquid gangrene, Hart said.
In 2004, Hart lost his left leg to a cardiovascular disease, which he said was brought on by smoking.
Gerald W. Barr, a veterans advocate with the Center for Independence's Albany office, said he met Hart in the physical therapy amputee program after Hart's most recent operation. Barr was at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, where he worked with the amputees.
Barr said Hart asked for some help.
"I said, 'Well, I'm in the helping business,'" Barr said.
Barr said he applied to get assistance for Hart. After several months, Barr and Hart found out Home Depot would donate the materials and the time needed for the construction of the ramp.
Jason Gregory, store manager at the Home Depot in Albany, said employees of Home Depot were donating the time and materials to build the new ramp Thursday.
Gregory said he was brought in by Barr, and through a grant by the Home Depot Foundation, the group received money and supplies for the project.
"I got about 20 volunteers from local Home Depot stores that came out here and donated their time," Gregory said Thursday as the volunteers worked at the house.
Hart was happy see the project get done.
"Gerry has been working on [the effort] since I got out of the hospital," Hart said.
Hart said he remembered having a big smile on his face when he was told he would get the help.
Hart was cheerful and humorous Thursday.
When asked what he wanted to do now that he is able to get out of the house, Hart grinned.
"I'd like to go for a run," he said.
Hart also received a free phone and one-year wireless subscription courtesy of AT&T.
Arthur Cleveland can be reached at email@example.com.