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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A local war hero, wounded overseas, received a gift Friday for his sacrifice -- and it was a WDRB special assignment report that helped Michael Hayes earn that gift.
Michael Hayes woke up Friday to workers busting down his door. He explains they were, "Saying hello, hello, hello, but it's cool, it's cool, it's all good. I like that they just kind of hit the ground running."
Volunteers were renovating the home of the former army specialist who lost his leg and suffered burns over nearly half his body after being the sole survivor of an IED explosion in Iraq.
WDRB News followed his story as he followed his dreams and became a professional wrestler to rescue himself from PTSD. He said Friday, "I had braced for impact ready and excited, but just seeing it is kind of the surreal part."
All the volunteers, the work on the house, the help for Hayes, believe it or not, it actually started with a fence. It was, "To help keep the dogs in, that's what this all started with," Mike's mother Vickie Monroe explains.
She reached out to the Louisville Home Builders Association, who brought in Home Depot and the veterans service group Active Heroes.
Troy Yocum with Active Heroes says, "I saw Michael Hayes' story, I was very emotional. I thought this veteran deserves help." That turned into a $15,500 grant.
Vickie Monroe says, "That's what I kept telling everybody, I just wanted something good to happen for him." The 100-plus volunteers will join forces through the weekend with one objective -- to better fit Hayes' home for his injuries.
Pat Wissing with Wissing Contracting says that makes the home, "Easier to get in and out of the doorways and obviously behind us we're working on a ramp for his wheelchair."
"Even though it's cold, it makes me feel warm inside. I'm happy to do it," says Douglas Gallahan, a Home Depot Volunteer.
Recent setbacks left Hayes temporarily unable to walk. He's standing now, but still far from healed and unsure when or if he'll wrestle again.
Nonetheless, he remains a humble hero, saying, "That's the cool part, not that it's Michael Hayes getting a new house. It's letting people know that people are out there willing to give the help to wounded soldiers."