NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A volunteer firefighter from Rockland County is finally home from the hospital after a flu infection changed his life forever.

20-year-old Will McCue Jr. had his hands and feet amputated earlier this year because of the virus, and received the boost of a lifetime on Friday.

A brand new bedroom, kitchen, and living room were built by more than 100 volunteer New City firefighters, who raised more than $100,000 and customized every square foot of the home.

“It was probably about a quarter-million dollar renovation,” said Assistant Chief Rich Willows. “This was all donations, from laborers to local contractors to suppliers.”

McCue was 19 in January when the college freshman caught the flu. It quickly got worse, and doctors had to take extreme measures to save his life.

“They didn’t think he was gonna live,” said William’s dad, Will McCue Sr. “Then he slowly started coming out of it, his kidneys recovered.”

William’s spent the past nine months in hospitals and rehab centers, and took his first steps with prosthetics last week.

“Not once have I heard him say ‘why me?’,” said family friend Jim Campolo. “He just accepts what has happened and is moving forward, and he’s so excited to come home.”

He pulled up in a firetruck and explored his brand new home, surrounded by everyone who’s supported him along the way.

“It’s just good to be home, see everyone,” Will Jr. said. “Anything beats being in a hospital bed.”

It took great strength to get back on his feet, but his family says it’s Will Jr.’s resilience that’s gotten him to this point – smiling at home with his family.

“It’s extremely difficult to watch what happened to him but how he’s attacking, I’m extremely proud of him for that,” Will Sr. said.

Will Jr. says he hasn’t yet given up on his dreams of being a firefighter. He plans to go back to school, get his degree, and go back to the firehouse to work as a dispatcher.


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