‘Best gift ever’: A first look at new home built for Bloomington teen paralyzed in 2022

Teaming up to help paralyzed Bloomington teen

Teaming up to help paralyzed Bloomington teen

Rolling up the walkway and straight into his new house, 16-year-old Ethan Glynn has a renewed sense of independence.

The Bloomington teen was paralyzed from the neck down during his first high school football game in September 2022. About a year after the life-changing injury, the community — led by the efforts of a local building company — teamed up to rebuild the family’s home from the ground up and make it more accessible.

Ethan and his brother, Parker Durkin, were surprised with the final result on Christmas Eve. On Tuesday, they welcomed 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in for a first look.

It’s complete with voice-activated doors, lights and blinds, and Ethan is able to traverse it from the front door through the back door onto the porch without assistance.

If you know anything about Ethan, you’ll know the crimson-colored “Bama Room” is his favorite and that its design came straight from his imagination, complete with a football signed by his favorite SEC football team and a Vikings ball signed by Kirk Cousins too.

“All of our lives have gotten much more manageable,” his father, Corey Glynn, said, adding that it’s cut the time it takes to help Ethan get ready for the day in half.

The house sits on the foundation of Ethan and Parker’s former childhood home, lovingly referred to as “The Yellow House.”

“The day that we tore it down was definitely mixed emotions,” Ethan said.

The family made the tough call to tear it down, deciding it was more cost-efficient to start from scratch than to try to make the 1950s rambler more accessible.

Reacting to the Christmas Eve surprise, Parker said, “They had told us there’s gonna be no furniture. Nothing, you know, just a bare house.”

“And then we walk in and it’s like, all this stuff’s already in it,” Ethan shared. “They had our beds and couches, and they did all that, like, without me and Parker even knowing it. So then they surprise us, and that was, like, the best Christmas gift ever.”

“I would say in many ways, it’s not just our house, it’s the community’s house. It’s a lot of different companies have their heart and soul in this house,” Corey Glynn added. “This summer, we did signing of plywood. That plywood is in the roof that holds the house, almost the roof up. All those things matter.”

“I just want people to know that we’re super grateful,” Parker said, thanking everyone who volunteered time, money or just kind words along the way.

Echoing the sentiment, Ethan said, “I would not have expected this in a million years… All the people that have reached out, sent letters, it’s just been crazy. It’s helped me a lot to like get through it.”