Bohemian, earthy and eclectic. That's Aimee Copeland, family and friends say.
That also describes the new digs the Snellville woman will come home to next week when she leaves a rehab center where she's been recovering from a flesh-decaying infection that claimed her leg, foot and both hands.
Builder Pulte Homes handed over keys to a 1,956-square-foot wing to the Copeland family home on Wednesday. Pulte and 50 of its trade partners, including Home Depot, built the warm, spacious, two-story addition at no cost to the family and equipped it for Copeland's special needs. Copeland, who will use a wheelchair and prosthetics, had major input in planning the space, where earth tones and eclectic style abound.
"It was all done with Aimee's needs in mind," said Ryan Lewis, a Pulte vice president.
Many of the nearly 200 volunteers who built and renovated the home in 25 days — more quickly than their 40-day schedule — were on hand for the unveiling of the space that features a new bedroom, fitness room, study and an elevator, and a renovated great room and kitchen, at a cost of more than $200,000, Pulte officials estimated.
"No job has meant more to me than this one," in all my years of doing this kind of work, said remodeling contractor Casey Moon, of K and C Services in Lilburn. "Aimee's story touched me from day one. I had to help."
Her ordeal began when Copeland suffered a cut on rocks and got the necrotizing fasciitis infection after falling from a broken zip-line over a west Georgia river. Early on, doctors gave Copeland a slim chance of surviving. But she battled back. Her struggle gained national attention as her father, Andy Copeland, wrote emotional entries about the ordeal in a blog.
John Klemenc, manager of the Home Depot in Snellville, said he felt an urge to help the moment he heard Copeland's story. Home Depot renovated the second floor, complete with a new, open kitchen.The project costs surpassed $55,000 and included 50 Home Depot employees who volunteered their time.
The new home addition offers a slew of amenities, including:
— a state-of-the art exercise room where Copeland can continue her physical rehab.
— a study built with reclaimed barn wood to fit with Copeland's love of nature and the outdoors. It also has a two-sided remote-controlled fireplace, a black granite desk and built-in book shelves.
— a bedroom with a sitting area that includes Copeland's artwork. Her bathroom has an extra deep sink that allows her to easily wash her prosthetics, and a shower that allows for easy transfer from her wheelchair to the shower area.
"I'm blown away at everything they've done," Andy Copeland said of the efforts of 100-plus volunteers. "I think the person that's really going to be blown away is Aimee."
Staff writer Helena Oliviero contributed to this story.
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