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Jason Smith went to Afghanistan in 2010; in 2011 he was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan while driving a Humvee. He came back to the U.S. a few months later and was discharged from the Army in 2012.
The Smiths weren’t homeless before the house in Blaine. They were living in Mount Vernon, Ohio, but it wasn’t working. The local VA facility for Jason Smith’s treatment was too crowded, too far away and lacked adequate treatment for his traumatic brain injury.
They knew Minnesota had one of the best VA systems for his injury, but worried about home prices in the Twin Cities metro area.
Their home is about 1,300 square feet with a balcony and an American flag hanging next to the garage.
With the move, things have gotten better, he said. His wife found a job with Living Well Disability Services as a program coordinator, his quality of life has improved and the new home is just 25 minutes from a VA facility.
Still, things aren’t perfect. Jason Smith can’t work because of his injuries, and is on Social Security and pain medications. But Trizer Smith has been with him since they met in 2011 after he returned from Afghanistan. They married in 2013.
Thinking back to the moment they discovered they’d gotten the house, Trizer Smith said her husband cried. He denied it; he remembered she had cried. She protested, laughing.
“He always says that,” she said.
“We were overjoyed,” he added. “It was life-changing, really.”
Beena Raghavendran • 612-673-4649