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Community Comes Together To Support Operation Doug

(Photo Credit: Alexis Vitale)

(Photo Credit: Alexis Vitale)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A community is coming together to help a local soldier and his family.

Sgt. Doug Vitale lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan. Now, efforts are underway to help him cope with some of the challenges he’ll face.

What looked like a board meeting turned out to be a gathering of big hearts and people so generous you can’t help but smile.

Laid out on the table were the floor plans for a $500,000 home for Doug and Alexis Vitale.

In addition to losing both of his legs, Sgt Vitale suffered severe head trauma when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in September of 2011.

The Lt. Dan Band is coming to Pittsburgh to help raise money for the cause at an event at Stage AE. The group is named after the character played by actor Gary Sinese in “Forrest Gump.”

They have committed to building smart homes for more than 50 severely wounded veterans.

“They presented me with this awesome house plan. It just blows me away every time we talk about it,” Alexis said.

They’ll break ground in August on this corner lot…on this field that’s now just weeds and grass and wildflowers. six months from the time they break ground…and the dreamhouse…the smarthouse will be complete…as normal as it will ever get.>

“It’s going to mean independence. It’s going to mean a better quality of life for him. A lot more abilities for happy times and happy people,” Alexis said.

Those working to build the home are happy to help.

Builder Jeff Thomas said the special design, down to the elevators, wide doors and easy access bathrooms come from the heart.

“My dad was a World War II veteran. He instilled – imbedded in us – he always told us to do the right thing. This is my first opportunity to do that and I feel good about it,” Thomas said.

Much of the money to build this home will come from proceeds of the Lt. Dan Band concert Stage AE on Aug. 9.

Click here to purchase tickets to the event.

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