Nurse injured in building collapse will get a new, wheelchair-accessible home

Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 18:17:14-04

HEBRON, Ky. -- Valerie McNamara didn't recognize her husband or their two children when she woke up in the hospital. 

The accident that put her there -- a Covington building collapse in which she and three other women were struck by falling bricks while chaperoning a field trip -- had badly damaged brain and body alike, forcing first a half-dozen life-saving surgeries and then months of physical rehabilitation

By the time she came home in December 2016, greeted by an assembly of supportive friends and neighbors, she had regained enough command of her own body to laugh, chat about the weather and pick up objects on her own. Mentally, her husband, Bryan McNamara, said, he progress had been encouraging.

But physically, some things would simply be different forever. McNamara's family learned early in her rehabilitation that she would likely need a wheelchair for the rest of her life -- and later that the home in which she'd lived before the incident had accessibility problems none of them had ever needed to consider before.

"We simply didn't anticipate how challenging and emotionally painful it would be for Valerie to try and function as a paraplegic in our home," Bryan McNamara said Thursday. 

That won't be a problem for much longer, however. Northern Kentucky-based developer Sutter Homes announced Thursday that it would begin building a "fully customized, wheelchair-accessible home" for the McNamara family in Hebron. 

"In our very first meeting with Valerie and Bryan, we decided that Sutter Homes would do everything in our power to get the McNamaras into a home that Valerie can fully enjoy and actually live in," founder Tom Sutter said in a news release.

The developer, a local nonprofit and Valerie's Prayer Angels, a charity created specifically to help fund McNamara's ongoing rehabilitation, have partnered to fund the construction of the home, leaving a comparatively small portion of the cost to the McNamara family.

It's a welcome gesture after what Bryan McNamara described as "a year of tears and triumphs."

Bryan McNamara will help the Sutters break ground on his family's new home Friday in Hebron.