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Army vet gets new home in Sound Beach

Overwhelmed with emotion and surrounded by family and

Overwhelmed with emotion and surrounded by family and friends, a dream of owning his own home becomes a reality for Army staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient Omar Domenech, 36. (Nov. 10, 2011) Credit: Randee Daddona

In June, Omar Domenech looked at an empty parcel of land in Sound Beach and he couldn’t imagine seeing a house there, much less one he would own.

“You really have to have an eye for it,” he said. “I couldn’t see where they were going to plant my house.”

On Thursday, Domenech, 36, his wife Angela, 29, and their children Anastasia, Ashley, and little Omar, were handed the keys to their first home.

The two-story, three-bedroom house was the first built as part of the program “Building New Homes for Returning Veterans,” sponsored by Long Island Home Builders Care Development Corps., the nonprofit arm of the Long Island Builders Institute.

Domenech, who has been living with his family in Brooklyn, is a staff sergeant with the  Army and has served three tours overseas.

Lois Fricke, director of development for LIHBCDC, said the group wanted to do something special for returning veterans.

“I had an older brother who was in the Korean War,” she said. “Nothing was done to help these guys when they came back. We wanted to do something.”

Fricke said the land was donated by Landmark Properties of Suffolk, and construction was overseen by Daytree Construction. Services and supplies were all donated by a large list of local companies, enabling the crew to finish the house in just six months.

Fricke said the Domenech family was chosen by a selection committee assembled through the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6249 of Rocky Point. Domenech served twice in Iraq and most recently in Kuwait. He received a Purple Heart medal and a Combat of Action badge after he was struck by shrapnel from a roadside bomb during his second tour in Iraq.

Fricke said the house was sold to the Domenechs for $100,000. She said the group has plans to build additional homes for veterans in Ronkonkoma and Patchogue and hopes to build more around Suffolk County.

Angela Domenech said when she and her husband first got the phone call telling them they had been chosen for the house, she didn’t believe it.

“I said, ‘Is this for real? This could be a scam, don’t give them any personal information,’” she said.

Both born and raised in Brooklyn, she said she and her husband were looking forward to having a house for raising their children.

“It’s a great location,” she said. “A quiet place.”

Anastasia Domenech, 15, who is Omar Domenech’s daughter from another marriage, said she’s grateful to be living in a house that her family could live in “for generations,” rather than moving from apartment to apartment. She was also proud of her father.

“Usually people are not really appreciated when they come home,” she said about returning veterans. “It’s really wonderful to see my dad appreciated for what he’s done.”

Domenech was honorably discharged in 2009. He continues to work with veterans as a social worker and to provide support for homeless veterans in the Bronx.

Standing in the empty house on Thursday, Omar Domenech said he was extremely grateful, and that he was looking forward to making the house a home.

“We’re looking forward to settling in and figuring out where everything is going,” he said.

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