The House Built By A Community

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - September 29, 2010
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Army Sgt. 1st Class Sualauvi ‘Malua’ Tuimalealiifano (second from right) with family members (from left) Aolele, Sosefina, Sualauvi Sr., Mana, Shannon and Sualauvi III in front of their newly renovated home in Kapolei. Community members and businesses rallied together to make improvements to the house after Tuimalealiifano was paralyzed from the waist down in 2007 fighting in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Watts Construction.

Life for a West Oahu disabled soldier just got a bit easier thanks to the generosity of his community and donated manpower and supplies from a local construction company.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Sualauvi"Malua"Tuimalealiifano, formerly of the Army’s 96th Civil Affairs, was paralyzed from the waist down during combat with Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan in 2007. In November 2009, in honor of Tuimalealiifano’s bravery, a “Walk Across Oahu” was organized to raise funds to cover construction costs of making Tuimalealiifano’s Kapolei home wheelchair accessible.

Initially Watts Construction had agreed to donate $10,000 to the cause, but after meeting Tuimalealiifano, company president Denny Watts offered to take on the renovation project with local business assistance.

“We had great partners and volunteers from the construction industry who donated materials, equipment, time and money to help make Sgt. Tuimalealiifano’s home renovation a reality,“Watts said.“This was a team effort with members of the community coming together and making a tangible difference in the life of someone truly deserving.”

The value of the renovations is estimated at around $150,000 as volunteer crews also expanded Tuimalealiifano’s bedroom and bathroom. Ramps and pathways were installed throughout the home, a physical therapy room was added, as well as two extra bedrooms for Tuimalealiifano’s relatives.

“We are excited and blessed,“said Tuimalealiifano. “My family and I give all glory and grace to God for what has happened.”

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