Veterans of the United States military risk their lives to protect our freedoms. It’s abhorrent when they aren’t respected for serving our country. Unfortunately, a recent case of vandalism is prolonging veteran Paul Skarinka’s move into his custom built new home.

The house was being specially designed for Skarinka, who served as a corporal with the U.S. Army, and funded by the Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors along with the New England Carpenters Training Fund and Commodore Builders. The veteran was critically injured in September of 2004, just eight months into his first tour in Iraq, when his unit was on a mission outside of Bagdad. They found themselves under enemy fire and were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade explosion.

Fox News reported Skarinka’s home was robbed and damaged in Hanson, Mass. Police found 24 custom windows, three doors, and some lighting fixtures destroyed. The damage will cost at least $50,000 to repair.

Skarinka had to undergo a total of 22 surgeries and have his left leg amputated below the knee as well as part of his left arm amputated. He was looking forward to moving into the custom home with his family, but after the vandalism, he will have to wait even longer to do so.

“Our house, we wanted a lot of windows because we wanted the natural light and where the house was, was so nice and it’s a really nice lot on three acres,” Skarinka said yesterday. “One or two windows, that’s one thing, but you made an effort and pretty much went out of your way to break every single window that was in that house.”

“This incident is disheartening,” said Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch. “When a veteran and his family, who have sacrificed so much for our country, become the victim of a senseless crime, it hurts us all.”

Culprits Caught

Police were thankfully able to identify the teenagers behind this vandalism through surveillance videos at a neighbor’s house. The parents of the teenagers brought them right to the local station to talk to police as soon they were identified.

“The parents of the two young men have been very helpful and respectful,” Miksch said in a subsequent statement. “Their children are accused of doing something stupid that in time we hope to use to teach them a valuable lesson about sacrifice.”

Both teenagers have been charged with vandalism, and Skarinka is hoping that they are given an appropriate punishment.

“Hopefully, the punishment fits the crime,” Skarinka said. “That’s some malicious intent there if you want to break all the windows. You don’t have respect for people’s property.”

It’s disgusting that a veteran who had sacrificed so much for his country was treated this way by the very people he risked his life to protect. This just goes to show that young people today need to be taught more about all the things veterans have sacrificed for our great nation.

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