About two years ago, he was in a car accident that changed his life.
"My vehicle had a triple rollover as they said. It speeds up to 75 miles an hour there, and my front left tire came off my vehicle and I went airborne," Villa says.
Manuel barely remembers the accident, but he does remember waking up from a medically induced coma two weeks later.
"I knew that when I looked down I could see my right toe on my right leg, but I couldn't see my left toe on my left leg. I knew then that I had lost my leg," Villa says. "All I did then was say, well, this is what I've been dealt with, and I went back to sleep."
Employees at a California-based company heard about Manuel's story, and volunteered to build a wheelchair accessible home for him, his wife Consuelo, and Santiago, their five-month-old son.
"As time went by, they just kind of fell out of it," Manuel says.
That's when Project Jody: A Cadence for Life stepped in to help.
Kirby Pacheco, who's with the organization, says, "Project Jody supplies donations to veterans free of charge the things they may need. He needed a wheelchair, and we gave him a wheelchair. That started a really close relationship and friendship."
They plan on building Manuel a wheelchair accessible home, providing this American hero with a "thank you he deserves.
"You couldn't do what you do, and I couldn't do what I do if it hadn't been for the veterans. We couldn't do what we do if it hadn't been for the people who fought for our rights and freedoms. We feel like they paid for it, so we're trying to pay them back," Pacheco says.
"There are not enough 'thank you's' that I could say to everybody that has helped," Villa says.
No estimated completion date has been set for Villa's home.
But organizers say they still need volunteers and other other help to make villa's wheelchair accessible home a reality.
To help, call Kirby Pacheco at (940) 782-8956.
Some Vernon residents spent their Saturday afternoon celebrating a…
Read our weekend events list to do everything from browsing hot rods…