New home a place ‘to heal and grow’ (Sun-Times Media/Chicago Sun-Times)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

ELGIN — U.S. Army Spc. Nick Mapson of Sugar Grove lifted his 1-year-old son, Jayden, from his wife’s arms.

He held the boy close and kissed his forehead. He pointed out the three skydivers from Ohio-based Team Fastrax jumping from an airplane overhead, each with an American flag waving proudly behind, and the quartet singing a medley of patriotic tunes on the deck.

What he didn’t know was that it all was for him.

It all was part of a surprise announcement from New American Homes, the Chicago NFL Players Association Former Players Chapter and several area home builders associations: They were presenting the Sugar Grove veteran and his family with a new home, mortgage-free.

“It’s unbelievable, and I’m so thankful,” Mapson said.

That announcement came Thursday afternoon during an annual golf outing hosted by the Home Builders Association of the Greater Chicago Area and the Residential Construction Employers Council at the Highlands of Elgin golf course, 875 Sports Way.

And it was made possible, according to NFLPA President Reggie Smith, “because of a few miracles.”

“Part of that miracle happened when a few people … turned into a lot of people, and a great thing happened,” Smith said.

The house, a 1,992-square-foot LIFEhouse designed by Hawthorn Woods-based New American Homes, is under construction in the Newport Cove community on the Chain O’Lakes near Antioch, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Looking at a photo of the house Thursday with its blue siding and white picket fence, Jackie Mapson called it “the all-American home.”

When finished, it will feature award-winning universal design principles, such as low-pile carpet in alternating colors on stairs, wide doorways and hallways and an accessible bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities. Those details now will be finalized with Spc. Mapson’s physical challenges in mind, according to New American Homes President Susanne Tauke.

That design will make the home not only functional but also “beautiful” — a place “to heal and grow,” according to Rita Unzner, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago.

For the rest of the story, visit New home a place ‘to heal and grow’ (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Andrew Nelles for Sun-Times Media.