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Celebration of Service helps Corvallis vet

By Kyle Benjamin, Weekend Anchor, kbenjamin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 15 2012 06:28:17 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 15 2012 06:40:04 PM MST
CORVALLIS, Mont. -

A national home improvement store pitches in, helping an injured Corvallis Army veteran and the children living under his roof.

The month-long project to give the Goodnight family a bigger place to live is almost finished.

More than 100 Home Depot employees from all over the state, led by workers from Missoula, turned out in a quiet section of Ravalli County to give the Goodnight family a larger home.

"We decided as a crew, we had to get down here to help him out," says Jerry Contonio, the Missoula store manager.

Sergeant Donald Goodnight, U.S. Army, retired; broke his back when the Black Hawk helicopter he flew in as crew chief hit the Iraqi soil too hard on landing.

"When I first came home and they told me I was never going to work again, I was 29-years-old," says Goodnight.

Goodnight is on full disability from the Veterans Administration. He's a full-time dad raising his daughters, and a niece and nephew -- challenging in a small house and compounded by his disabilities.  But that all changed when Home Depot stepped in.

"Now that we've got this bigger space, the family's not going to be so crowded. It's going to help me heal a little bit more."

Even though they've shared their living space with strangers wielding power tools for the last 30 days, Goodnight's family says it's worth it.

"It's been awesome because my cousin can have a room, and my sisters and me, and my other cousin doesn't have to sleep on the ground," says Goodnight's 10-year-old daughter, Sabrina.

Besides the addition on the Goodnights' house, the crew put in new doors, a laminate floor, and are busy painting and finishing trim work. They also have plans to build a new deck in the near future.