ELYSBURG — Marine Cpl. David Noblit Jr. and family took the keys Saturday to a free 3,500-square-foot, $400,000 ranch house in Elysburg that will accommodate the Line Mountain High graduate who lost his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2010.
The house — custom-made, with four bedrooms — was the 167th built by Homes for Our Troops.
“I want to thank everyone who has been by my side,” Noblit told a crowd of about 150 at the morning ceremony. “This will give me more independence and put me in a better mood. I can go where I want and do what I want.”
The chilly air was filled with warm wishes as the crowd welcomed the family — Noblit, wife, Amanda, who is expecting their second child, 4-year-old son Cayden and dog Lily — to their home on Heartland Boulevard.
The national Homes for Our Troops organization has given David Noblit the independence he wanted. Ground was broken on the home in July 2013.
Noblit had told Homes for Our Troops he “would like to be able to do everything around the house,” program manager Carlo Gaita said before presenting the family the keys.
Home has automatic doors
The house has wider hallways and doorways, lower switches, cabinets and countertops and automatic doors to accommodate Noblit, who uses a wheelchair. The bathroom and kitchen also are outfitted for Noblit’s use.
Noblit had a hero’s welcome.
“I pulled in here and it looked like the Walmart parking lot during Black Friday,” Noblit said of the waiting crowd, which included Northumberland County Commissioner Steve Bridy, state Rep. Kurt Masser, R-107, Elysburg, Brig. Gen. Andrew Schafer, of the Pennsylvania National Guard, and members of Gold Star and Blue Star families. Ralpho Township police and several veterans’ motorcycle groups escorted the family into the development.
“This is amazing,” said Eric Frank, Noblit’s brother-in-law, noting how much Noblit and the family have been through.
“It’s breathtaking, definitely. They’ve been doing really well with all the support of family and veterans’ groups.”
Noblit suffered grave injuries in November 2010 while searching for explosive devices in Afghanistan. An IED detonated, launching him into the air and causing injuries that eventually took his legs.
“David, you know what Marines are made of,” said John Schneider, a fellow Marine and district injured support coordinator with the Wounded Warrior Project. “Marines serving post-9/11 know what they’re getting into, and they do it admirably. For organizations like (Homes for Our Troops) to put in places like this where you can raise your son, this is more than four walls and a roof.”
Officials of Homes for Our Troops thanked all involved and gave the Noblits the keys. The national nonprofit group builds homes specially adapted for the more than 1,700 service members who returned to the states with life-altering injuries post-9/11. National, regional and corporate sponsors donate building materials and funds to the group for the homes’ construction.