A beaming veteran Lance Cpl. Billy Ventura spoke from inside his new 2,030-square-foot home in Selden Friday, built to accommodate the Marine following a hit-and-run that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
"The kitchen is amazing. The kitchen, I can’t wait. I’m so used to trying not to lean over the burners. And now I don’t have to worry about that," Ventura said from his wheelchair. "And the bathroom, I don’t … [have] to bounce off walls to turn around."
Moments earlier, Ventura, 29, helped grip a large pair of scissors held by Harry Singh. The two men waited for the countdown to hit zero before cutting the red ribbon in front of Ventura’s new $500,000 home.
Ventura’s new pad on Dare Road — a three-bedroom home with an open-floor design — is courtesy of a donation from the Bolla Charity Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Singh and his wife, Kamiljit. Harry Singh is the founder and president of Bolla Oil Corp., which operates more than 45 gas stations on Long Island, officials said.
The property was donated by Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven. The Bolla Foundation razed a dilapidated home on the property and built Ventura’s state-of-the art domain with amenities including Energy Star stainless-steel appliances, a large master bedroom, and a roll-in shower, officials said.
During a news conference in which Ventura was presented the keys, Singh said Ventura won’t ever have to pay a mortgage. Ventura's electric bills, reduced by solar panels, are also taken care of, Singh said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who spoke before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said there haven’t been many good days in 2020, but Friday was truly a great one because veterans like Ventura are owed so much.
"All the opportunity, all the freedom, all the success, everything that we get to enjoy in this nation is not free," he said. "It’s paid for through the service and sacrifice of people like Billy Ventura and his family."
In July 2013, Ventura, then a Marine Corps reservist, was driving his father's 2007 Suzuki motorcycle on Middle Country Road in Selden when he clipped a car stopped in front of him. He fell to the road and was run over while the motorcycle lay on top of him. The driver who hit him fled, and the incident left Ventura partially paralyzed.
Ventura’s parents, William Ventura Sr. and Cynthia, were at his side on his special day. They were emotional, and so was Billy, whose voice cracked when he read statements thanking everyone who contributed to making him a homeowner.
"This home gives me the opportunity to continue to grow independently and experience living on my own," he said. "This home … will now make everyday tasks that were once easy — easy again."