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Christmas decorations make the season a little brighter for wounded soldier

Lucas Oppelt's whole world changed after he accidentally stepped on an IED while serving as an Army medic in Afghanistan on May 26, 2012.

Oppelt, 34, underwent surgery to amputate his right leg and the accident left him with severe damage to the tissue and nerve on his left leg. He's also experienced TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD.

"The accident had a great impact on my everyday life," he told TODAY.com. "I used to be a lot more active than I am now. I played sports with my son and used to decorate for the holidays. It's not that I haven't been in the spirit, but it's kind of hard to do with one leg."

This year, Christmas Decor, a program that decorates the homes of deserving military families, did the decorating for him. On Wednesday, four volunteers showed up to their Colorado Springs home ready to get to work and three hours later, the Oppelts' home was ready for Christmas!

Courtesy of Christmas Decor by Swingle
The Oppelt's house after Christmas Decor decorated

"Nothing is easy anymore, so it's nice to have something done for us," Amy Oppelt, 34, told TODAY.com. Amy also served as an Army medic, which is how she met Lucas.

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The accident, which happened during Lucas' second time serving — the first was in Iraq in 2006 — sent him to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for two years. During that time, Amy heard about Christmas Decor and signed the family up.

Courtesy of Christmas Decor by Swingle
Christmas Decor decorating the Oppelt's home in Colorado Springs

After getting released from Walter Reed, they didn't want to move back to their apartment in Mishawaka, Indiana. The couple fell in love with Colorado after vacationing there, so they picked up and moved in July 2014 with their two children, Peyton, 9, and Lily, 3.

"We never had a house of our own to decorate, just apartments, so this year is extra special for us," Lucas said.

Christmas Decor lined the house and trees with lights, put up inflatable decorations in the front yard and even brought the kids toys, cookies and a gingerbread house to make.

Courtesy of Christmas Decor by Swingle
Peyton, Lucas and Amy's son, opening up a present that Christmas Decor got him

"A few strands of lights would've done the job, but they really went all out," Amy said. "It was such a nice surprise to come home to such beautiful and festive decorations and the kids are on cloud nine."

Courtesy of Christmas Decor by Swingle
The Oppelt's front door after Christmas Decor decorated

Since starting the Decorated Family Program in 2005, the organization has decorated about 200 soliders' homes each year, free of charge.

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"Everyone recognizes the struggle these soldiers face, so this is a nice way to go in and bring joy to families who might otherwise not have any decorations," Brandon Stephens, president of Christmas Decor, told TODAY.com.

Lucas and Amy, who are both attending college full-time, are now gearing up to have Christmas at their house for the first time.

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