BILLINGS - After a long journey, Bo Reichenbach and his family are home.
The 27-year-old former U.S. Navy SEAL celebrated the occasion on Tuesday, alongside his wife, Lacy, and their son, Landon. A large crowd of supporters also joined to see the Reichenbachs receive their new house, which had been built at no cost to the family.
The home is the latest finished work of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which is named for a New York City firefighter who died in the line of duty when the south tower collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
The organization was founded in Siller’s memory, and its flagship program involves building custom homes for seriously injured veterans.
While serving in Afghanistan in 2012, Reichenbach lost his legs and severely injured his arm in an improvised bomb explosion.
Emotion crept into Reichenbach’s voice when he addressed the crowd Tuesday. The house is the work of many organizations and individuals, all of whom chipped in for the family on the roughly half-million-dollar project.
“There’s a really big thank-you that I owe to my family, and my dad,” he said.
Reichenbach worked on the house alongside his father, Don. The family company, Reichenbach Construction, was the main contractor for the job. He has worked with his father on projects since he was 12 and now will join the family business.
The “thank-you” extended beyond the construction phase. He said that when he first started treatment as a result of his injuries, his father came out to be with him for nearly eight months. What followed was nearly two years of treatment and more than 20 medical procedures at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
In addition to losing his legs, Reichenbach’s arm was severely injured, and he sustained some hearing loss. He was just seven months into deployment when it happened.
Frank Siller, chairman of Tunnel to Towers and brother of its namesake, said that they first met Reichenbach at the hospital. But a Billings family’s “significant” donation got the ball rolling on his project.
“I said, ‘We can start tomorrow, and we’ll make sure it’s mortgage-free,’” Siller said.
Tunnels to Towers works with a group of corporate sponsors for materials. The cabinetry, flooring, furniture and other items came from those companies. John Hodges, the organization’s chief operating officer, said that 44 homes for vets have been completed or are in progress.
In addition to the local family’s donation, organizations like the Semper Fi Fund and the Phoenix Patriot Foundation donated money to the project.
Jared Ogden, also a former SEAL and founder of the Phoenix Patriot Foundation, said they got into Reichenbach’s project from the beginning.
“Bo exemplifies hope,” he said. “He is that candle that’s lit.”
The home is outfitted with adaptive technology for limited mobility, a result of custom planning. The range and cabinet shelves can be electronically lowered, for example, and the open plan is suitable if Reichenbach uses a wheelchair.
From the front porch, Reichenbach can see the area of his childhood home. On Tuesday, he raised the American flag over his own family’s home for the first time.
Tuesday was the 240th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Navy. That was no accident. Siller’s organization wanted to mark the anniversary with a gift to one of the branch’s own.
“These guys made a commitment to their country,” he said, “and I think America needs to make a commitment to them.”