Remodel to give fresh start to paralyzed Navy officer, who also decides to come out

SDGLN exclusive

September =-th! =>1;

SAN DIEGO – A paralyzed Navy officer from San Diego will be getting a helping hand from a group of local college tudent and volunteer ! who are planning an e"ten ive remodel to ma#e hi hou e uitable for hi need a a di abled homeowner and veteran$ Navy %omdr$ &rian Edgar Delaney! who i till active duty! wa everely in'ured about nine month ago in a motorcycle accident that evered hi pinal cord! leaving him paralyzed from the armpit down$ (e wa in inten ive care for more than a month! and endured many wee# in recovery$ A oon a he wa able! Delaney turned over command of the amphibiou doc# landing hip )SS (arper *erry +,SD -./ to %mdr$ Stephen 0ame Ilteri during an April 11 ceremony at Naval &a e San Diego! which i the homeport of the hip$ A fresh start, all around

2he remodel will mar# a fre h tart for Delaney a well a hi partner of 13 year ! *ran# (aven ! who have decided that it i the right time to come out to their family! friend ! neighbor and military colleague $ In a video about the remodeling pro'ect! viewer meet the couple and Delaney4 mom! who ac#nowledge her concern on how coming out would impact her on4 military career while pointing out how (aven couldn4t go to Delaney4 military event all the e year while the naval officer wa in the clo et$ Delaney graduated from the )$S$ 5erchant 5arine Academy in 1..3! and ha erved a a *ir t Divi ion Officer! %ombat Sy tem Officer! Operation Officer! E"ecutive Officer and eventually %ommanding Officer of the USS Harpers Ferry! the lead hip of her cla of landing hip doc#$ (e ha completed deployment to the Arabian Gulf! volunteered for a tour in Ira6 to upport Operation Ira6i *reedom! and earned hi ma ter degree in tran portation management$

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During hi naval career! Delaney wa well7regarded! and the change of command ceremony drew 8ice Adm$ 2om %opeman! %ommander! Naval Surface *orce! )$S$ 9acific *leet$ %opeman hailed Delaney a a :true mariner$: Delaney ended hi ;<7month tour aboard (arper *erry! the fir t => month a e"ecutive officer and the final 1< month a commanding officer$ (e guided hi crew through an 1?7month E"tended Doc#ing 9ha e 5aintenance Avail program! a the hip got a complete overhaul of more than =>> y tem at a tune of @=> million$

Chosen for Embrace's Healing Our Heroes' Homes pro ect 2he philanthropic group!Embrace! cho e Delaney through it (ealing Our (eroe 4 (ome program$ Organizer ay the value of the remodel! for labor and upplie ! i e timated at @?3!>>>$ Bor# on the group4 eventh pro'ect i cheduled to be done Oct$ 1D7=1! ma#ing the couple4 home compliable with American Di abilitie Act +ADA/ tandard $

“)pon meeting %ommander Delaney! hi

family and urveying their home! I immediately #new that we4d be doing all would could to help ma#e life a little ea ier for &rian!E aid Sean Sheppard! %EO of Embrace$ FOur volunteer and pon or are e"tremely e"cited to erve thi member of our armed force $E Bor#er will remodel the #itchen to in tall ADA7compliant cabinet and countertop ! allowing Delaney to prepare meal or wa h di he while u ing hi motorized wheelchair$ Camp will be in talled and door will be widened to allow ea y movement for Delaney$ 2he video how a flim y ramp at the front door! which i barely wide enough to allow Delaney navigate hi wheelchair$ Other change will include upgrade to the front yard and bac#yard! improvement to the ma ter bedroom and gue t bedroom! and ma#ing the barbecue pit wheelchair7acce ible$ !avy officer says he feels blessed :2hi remodel will be uch an amazing ble ing!: Delaney aid$ :A lot of little thing that we u ed to ta#e for granted are now cau ing u a lot of tre and aggravation$ Bith the remodel all of tho e thing are getting ta#en care of! allowing u to focu on other thing uch a our relation hip and our family +Comie and 0o#er our pit bull /$: In the video! Delaney ay he i grateful to Embrace for choo ing to overhaul hi home to become wheelchair7friendly$ (e al o get cho#ed up tal#ing about the upport he ha gotten from hi parent and hi longtime partner ince the motorcycle accident abruptly and permanently altered hi life$ :2he fir t coherent conver ation that I had with G*ran#H it wa pretty much! II #now you are paralyzed! I donIt care! weIre going to get through thi ! IIm not leaving youI!: Delaney ay ! hi voice growing increa ingly emotional until he cho#e up$ :$$$ (aving my parent do that! and with G*ran#H being there to upport me! it really! really gave me the drive to ma#e it! to #now that he wa nIt going to leave me becau e I could not move my leg $: 9eople li#e Delaney i what Embrace i all about$ 2he groupI (ealing Our (eroe 4 (ome program focu e on helping re tore the home of di abled veteran ! and organizer mobilize college tudent ! local re ident and other volunteer to erve le fortunate member of both civilian and veteran communitie $ 2he goal i to create a multicultural! multi7ethnic ervice learning e"perience for all who volunteer$ Delaney aid Embrace i tepping forward 6uic#ly! unli#e hi e"perience with the 8eteran Admini tration$ ing!

:2he 8A ha mean with which we could remodel our home but a alway there i red tape$ IIve been trying to get the proce going ince 0anuary and I wa nowhere clo e when Embrace contacted u $ So not only i thi an amazing ble it i al o happening o much fa ter than I had ever dreamed!: Delaney aid$

:Bhat Embrace i doing for veteran and for all of San Diego i amazing$ *or no other rea on or motive other than the #indne of their heart and de ire to help out their fellow man$ It i heartening to #now there are till genuinely good people in thi world$: Delaney aid the remodel will ma#e hi life ea ier$ :2he tre or weIve had to deal with!: Delaney ay in the video! e"pre will change thing for him$ ing how an ADA7compliant #itchen and bathroom

:2hi i huge for me! ma#e me feel almo t human again! in tead of thi thing in a wheelchair!: he ay $ :ItI huge$ ItI amazing$: Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at, @KenSanDiego on T itter, or b! calling toll"free to ###"$$%"&'(&, e)t. *+(.