By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Thanks to the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America and volunteers from Home Depot, Terry Lowell of Keizer can now do something most people take for granted—take a shower.
Lowell, who served in the military for 22 years, beginning with the Marine Corps and then the Army Reserves before retiring as a master sergeant in the Air Force, had knee replacement surgery in 2010.
However, the new knee didn’t last and Lowell had to go back under the knife in 2014.
Due to a staph infection, Lowell’s had three more surgeries just since August and hadn’t been able to get over the lip in the shower in those eight months.
That’s where PVA and Home Depot came in, installing a shower with a lower lip and bench.
“It means an awful lot to me to have a little bit of comfort,” Lowell said. “My bath so far has just been wash cloth and towel, trying to keep yourself clean, but it’s not the same as a real shower, just that feeling of being clean. You can only do so much with a towel and wash cloth.”
Terry’s wife Sherry contacted Home Depot to check on the program, which through a group of employees volunteering their time helps veterans all over the country.
Along with the bathroom, the volunteers also put down bark and planted flowers in the yard.
“They came out right away and checked it out and told us what they could do,” Terry said. “They just make you feel good about the whole process, which made me feel good because I didn’t want to feel like I was getting a handout either. But they don’t make you feel that way.”
Name about any summit in Oregon, Washington and California, and Terry has probably climbed it, including Mt. Hood 21 times. But doctors don’t believe the climbing or military service are the cause of his knee problems but instead the 40 years working on concrete as a fabricator.
Not being able to leave the house very often, Terry is giving back by making shadowboxes for veterans who are at the end of their life in hospice. He takes all their medals and pictures and mounts them in a shadowbox for the family.
“They’ve turned out very beautiful and they are keeping him occupied,” Sherry said.