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Foundation makes struggling Racine family's bathroom wheelchair accessible

Life hasn't been particularly kind to the Salamone family. Four years ago, the husband was paralyzed in an accident.  This winter, the couple spent their retirement savings to save their house from collapse. But earlier this fall, a charitable group of contractors learned about those struggles and pitched in.

\"Really hard at first to comprehend that your legs don't work any more,\" Chris Salamone said.

A four-wheeler accident in 2010 paralyzed Chris from the waist down. His wife, Joy, suddenly became the breadwinner.

\"I still wake up every night checking him to make sure he's still alive,\" Joy Salamone said.

The couple struggled with finances, but made it work. Then, his past winter, fate knocked again.

\"I went downstairs,\" Joy said.  \"There was like five, six inches of water.\"

Joy found the basement walls were collapsing. Repairs cost about $50,000, forcing the Salamone's to empty their 401k.  That left no money to fix Chris' biggest challenge -- the bathroom.

\"It was a tight fit for me in my wheelchair,\" Chris said.  \"Access to the bathtub and access to the sink [wasn't good].\"

The Salamone's took the door off and replaced it with a shower curtain just so Chris could get through. He struggled to even turn around once inside.

\"I said, nobody's gonna help us,\" Joy said.

In stepped the Milwaukee/NARI foundation, which learned about the Salamone's struggles through the couple's friends. NARI Contractors donated $11,000 in supplies and manpower to renovate the bathroom over a four week period.

\"We want to help them, we want to help Chris get to a position where he can be more independent with his life,\" Milwaukee/NARI Foundation Board Member Diane Krueger said.

Now chris can move freely in a room he once felt trapped in.

\"Didn't always want to admit that I needed help, but I'm glad there are people out there willing to do it,\" Chris said.

\"This is what Wisconsin people are all about,\" Joy said. \"This is how people are here in Wisconsin and that's amazing to me.\"

The Milwaukee/NARI Foundation does one or two of these volunteer projects every year.  If you know someone who might need the help and could qualify, visit the Milwaukee/NARI website through this link to apply.

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