SPEEDWELL, Tenn. (WVLT) - An injured marine from east Tennessee who spent time recovering in Maryland, is finally home.
Lance Corporal Cody Evans from Claiborne County lost both of his legs in December when an IED exploded
For months, hundreds of volunteers played a part in renovating the Evans' house. The home transformation is finished and it is now completely wheelchair-friendly.
Friends and even strangers have put together various benefits. Events like fish fries, Friday night's auction, and recruiting volunteers to build his home.
The auction got started at 7:00 right on schedule, but a few minutes later, it was interrupted by a standing ovation for a surprise guest, Cody Evans.
Evans got a hero's welcome from everyone in his old high school's gym.
"Made me pretty proud, just knowing the people here would do that," said Evans.
A long line of people waved and cheered and shook his hand.
"(That) they would not only come up with something like this to do, but all these people would actually come out to do it," said Evans.
Most never met Cody before tonight but still stepped up to help the wounded warrior.
"I knew things like this were capable of happening, I just didn't expect all that to happen you know," said Evans.
He says he loves his new home, and that he's amazing how far people came to help.
"It just started out with me and my mom just asking my uncles to widen the doorways so my wheelchair could get through," said Evans.
Now, his whole house is wheelchair-friendly, and he and his mom say they couldn't be more thankful.
"I don't know everyone, don't know names of everyone, but I love them and I just wanna say thank you," said Regina Evans, Cody's mom.
"Just thanks again, it means a lot to all of us," said Cody Evans.
Nights like tonight are why he says he can't wait for the day that he can come back to Speedwell to stay.
Tonight's auction raised more than $10,000 for the Evans family.
Two of the big ticket items were a Pat Summitt basketball and a UT-team signed football. Both brought in $750 each.
Evans goes back to Maryland on Monday to continue treatment. He doesn't know when he'll be back or when he can move back home for good.