Local businesses come together to give veteran who was shot in the head in Iraq a special gift
GILBERT, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A veteran who suffered a life-changing combat injury received an unexpected gift on Thursday, after local businesses banded together to give her backyard a bit of a makeover.
Holly Katke served for 14 years in the military before she was shot during a combat mission in Iraq. A sniper's bullet had landed in the back of her head, causing paralysis on the right side of her body and legal blindness, because the bullet had lodged near her eye. As a way of thanks for Katke's service and sacrifice, local business owners said they wanted to do something special for her.
Katke's family was standing by her side during the big reveal.
"I didn't realize that so many people knew that I existed, or even knew about me, knew my story," said Katke.
Not only did Katke survived a bullet to the head, but raised her young daughter as a single mom. The White Heart Foundation, Sunburst Landscaping, and Above & Beyond Pool all came together to make this ribbon cutting happen, giving Katke, a Purple Heart Recipient, a remodeled backyard and a brand new swimming pool.
Katke's daughter, Leah, got emotional after seeing the new pool.
"It means that she will be able to do more water therapy now at home. It'll help her joints more too, so she'll be more mobile with her walking," said Leah.
The landscaping is also all brand new, fittingly decorated with a flag and some beautiful stone carving.
"When I can give back to someone who gave all, like Holly Katke, priceless," said Michael Sandoval, the founder of Above & Beyond Pool Remodeling. He is also a veteran. "You can't put a price tag on it. That is the most important, most near and dear thing to my heart, not only as a contractor but as a United States Marine."
"I just felt so happy, excited that we were going to get a pool, and that people wanted to help my mom that much," said Leah.
The Katke family moved to Gilbert a year ago to be closer to health services, friends and the Arizona sun. Since then, they say they have been overwhelmed by the community support.