The Budge Porter Project website:
Posted October 25
Contractors and friends lined the driveway as Budge Porter and his wife Diane made their way to their new home at 132nd and Corby Thursday night. Many of them donated time and supplies to the project.
Budge Porter -- paralyzed during a Husker spring practice in 1976 -- has fallen on even harder times recently.
Friends began a grassroots effort to build him his first ever barrier-free home.
"Thanks for coming out," said Budge to Husker legends Johnny Rodgers and Eric Crouch who were there showing support.
Everything is lower is this custom home so that it functions for someone confined to a wheelchair.
Diane Porter: "We lived for 9 years in a home where he couldn't go upstairs and say goodnight to his children. Now he can go to every room."
Some point to an elevator -- but the key in this place is the track system so Budge Porter can get to the bathroom by himself. "I knew I'd be searching for the right words tonight. Our gratitude is overflowing and it's going to last for the rest of my life -- no question about it."
On Saturday and Sunday, October 26-28, from noon - 5pm, the home will be open to the public for tours for a $5 donation. It's free to people with disabilities. The address is 13522 Corby Street. It's an opportunity to see a fully barrier free and wheelchair accessible home.
Soon after the life changing moment on the football field that turned him into a quadraplegic, Budge Porter's life became one on wheels. "As I age, I'm going to need more help along those lines."
Over the years, he's taken the limitations on and pushed himself to walk and to work as a stockbroker. The last few have been a struggle.
"Between the surgeries and market decline and the house problem -- we got in a position where we couldn't swing it -- we had to pull the plug on the house."
"It's beyond even a Husker story," said friend Sam Marchese. "The person hit me emotionally. It feels like the right thing to do. Sometimes you don't know what the right thing to do is until it is in front of you."
His friends have started to build him a home near 135th and Corby in northwest Omaha.
"What better way to help a guy who never complained," said friend Brad Brown, a builder who came to Budge Porter with the idea. "It's kind of a new standard we feel that with an aging population -- more and more people would want something like this. It won't look like a hospital."
A place where Budge and his family -- wheelchair and all -- would feel comfortable.
Some things you don't really think about but the kitchen has some special features -- the counter tops can be elevated so Budge and his wife can use them. And the cabinets will have special guardrails to limit the damage from the wheelchair.
The Porter's can afford the payments on a $200,000 home. The extras due to the wheelchair, however, are almost twice that.
"I know there's a lot of people suffering out there physically and financially far worse than I am. I am just blessed to have friends like this."
The home is expected to open in September. If you would like to help with the Budge Porter Project financially, information is available on the website.