SGT (Ret.) Jonathan Rivenbark, USA
Jonathan grew up in North Carolina, where most of his childhood was spent in group homes and foster care. He was an outstanding swimmer, but was not allowed to participate in big competitions due to foster care restrictions. It was also hard to make friends and then in the summer of 2007, he met his best friend and future wife, Yulia. The couple married in 2010.
In July 2009, he joined the Army as an Airborne Infantryman stationed at Fort Bragg. Shortly after arriving, he was sent to Afghanistan for his first deployment. During his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Jonathan experienced almost daily explosions and firefights. In July of that year, an ambush from three sides left Jonathan with four machine gunshot wounds fracturing both of his legs at the knee joint and causing severe nerve & tissue damage and other injuries.
Yulia immediately rushed to her husband’s side and Jonathan credits her for “showing me that there is life after tragedy and that my dreams will still come true.” SGT Rivenbark has gone through extensive rehabilitation at Womack Army Medical Center, Walter Reed, and Center for the Intrepid at BAMC. He spends a lot of his time in a wheelchair and uses IDEO braces, crutches, and a cane to help him walk.
Helping a Hero worked closely with Lt Governor Dan Forest to launch the “Nominate a Hero” program which identified SGT Rivenbark for this adapted McKee home in Legacy Lakes. Once Rivenbark was selected, Helping a Hero partnered with McKee Homes to design every aspect of this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for SGT Rivenbark and his injuries. It is a fully accessible home with wider doors, a roll in shower, roll under sink, flush threshholds and other safety features. This is the 2nd home where Mountain Real Estate Capital has donated the lot and the Legacy Lakes community is very special as most of its residents are veterans. Special thanks to McKee Homes, LLC, Mountain Real Estate Capital and LStar Management for their tremendous support and generosity. Jonathan and Yulia are excited about moving into their specially adapted Helping a Hero home and living a more independent life in Legacy Lakes.