Central Florida resident and retired U.S. Army Sergeant Pam Kelly once envisioned a lifelong military career. Having already served 17 years in the military, she was dedicated to a life of service.
Her future took a dramatic turn, however, when a devastating injury struck Kelly in 2002, leaving her a quadriplegic. The always independent and active Kelly was suddenly left to find a new path.
After adjusting to civilian life, Kelly rediscovered a love for sports and developed a passion for cycling. The strain of cycling proved too much and she soon needed emergency surgery on her elbow. The injury placed additional limits on her independence and she was forced to rely on help to navigate her daily routine.
A private person, Kelly struggled with a reliance on others for support until the nonprofit group Villagers for Veterans heard about her story.
The group was formed in 2014 with a goal to help wounded veterans through fundraising or resource connection, depending on the need of the veteran, to help them return to a life of normalcy and independence.
Kelly began spending more time at The Villages, an active adult community in Central Florida, and thrived in the setting where she could function independently. Kelly began to think of The Villages as a second home.
After Kelly spent time volunteering with Villagers for Veterans, the group saw a need for Kelly herself: They wanted to help make The Villages her home, not just a second home. So they started raising money to help build her a customized home that would provide the independence she craved in a community she already thought of as home.
A Place to Call Home
After two years of fundraising, over $300,000 was collected to begin building Kelly’s home in The Villages. The nonprofit organization then began reaching out to local brands, including ClosetMaid, to help fill the home with custom resources for Kelly’s new home.
The final design rendering for Kelly’s master bedroom closet
ClosetMaid worked with Kelly to design three storage spaces for her brand new home, one reach-in bedroom closet, a walk-in closet for her master bedroom and a pantry.
The final, installed bedroom reach-in closet
Kelly’s master bedroom closet
“We wanted to design her closet with easy-to-use spaces,” said Brian Dougherty, Vice President of Building and Strategic Sales with ClosetMaid’s Building Division. “Many of the shelves, drawers and hang spaces are positioned low in the closets so Pam can easily reach her belongings without having to rely on help.”
Kelly’s kitchen pantry
ClosetMaid's top-of-the-line MasterSuite series was used throughout her new home to give Kelly the personalization options and design elements she needed.
The completed home was presented to Kelly on June 27, 2020.
The exterior of Kelly’s new home in The Villages
“Thanks, ClosetMaid, for putting a smile on my face,” said Kelly.
Marie Bogdonoff, the CEO and Founder of Villagers for Veterans, coordinated the new home build for Kelly.
“Thanks to your incredible generosity, Villagers For Veterans was able to bring this project to completion and give a very deserving injured veteran, Sergeant Pam Kelly, the gift of independence in her new home,” said Bogdonoff.