Injured Cherry Creek Innovation student helping create tiny homes with a big purpose

Losing an eye didn’t stop Joe Wehrman from pursuing his passions and wanting to help other people.

On July 4, 2023, a fireworks mortar accidently went off near Wehrman.

“I don’t really know what happened, but it hit me in the face,” he said.

Wehreman explained that he broke his jaw, orbital bone and lost his right eye. The cornea on his other eye was scratched, “so [he] couldn’t see and that was kind of scary.” Wehrman now wears a prosthetic eye, and his teacher said he’s more conscious about safety.

When Wehrman came back to school in August, he said he was able to lean on his teachers and friends for support. When he felt tired, which happened frequently at first, his teachers allowed him to sit down and take a break. Michael Degitis, his teacher at Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, also went to visit him in the hospital.

“It was a no-brainer. [Wehrman] needed support at that time,” Degitis said. “He needs to know that we’re there for him, and that…we face obstacles, but nothing should stop us from continuing to be ourselves.”


Since then, Wehrman returned to school and continued his work in Degitis’ class learning about the construction trade. Losing his eye also meant that Wehreman’s depth perception was different, which made it difficult for him to hammer a nail, but “like riding a bike, it comes right back to you.”

“I could not have done this without all the support that was given to me,” Wehrman said. “It’s really comforting and it gives you motivation because then…you don’t want to get better just for yourself. You get better for everyone around you.”

On Friday, Wehrman and his peers at CCIC celebrated their months-long effort of building tiny homes for the homeless community. The projects they have been working on since October were placed onto semi-trucks where they were transported to serve the underserved.

CCIC allows district high-school students to get hands-on training in the trades, like construction. They partnered with Colorado Village Collaborative, a non-profit organization which creates tiny home villages in order to create transformational housing communities for people experiencing homelessness.

The tiny homes have air conditioning, heating, some bookshelves and doors that can lock. However, they do not include bathrooms or kitchens because the tiny homes will be surrounding a community center which has a large kitchen, dining area, laundry and bathrooms.

“The tiny homes are cool…because I can help people and it’s helping me to learn all the different skills and trades that go along with building a tiny home,” Wehrman said.

Wehrman is heading to Colorado State University in Fort Collins after graduating this spring. There, he plans on pursuing a degree in construction management. He dreams of owning his own construction company “and be successful enough that I can help people out.”

The original article from Sentinel Colorado can be found here.