Welcome to the house.
It was the surprise welcome from the Marine Sergeant. Jonathan Stephenson, his wife Alexandria and their children – Jackson, 7, Atticus, 5, and Oliva, 2 – met on Wednesday when representatives from PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program and Operation Last Home informed them that they would get a new home without a mortgage in New Braunfels.
The family believed they were meeting with representatives from Operation Last Home and Atlanta-based home builder PulteGroup for an initial interview. Believing the builder had been called, the family were driven to the Overlook neighborhood in Creekside near Kroesche Lane. Local members of the Patriot Riders then greeted the family and escorted them to the home for the dedication ceremony.
Stephenson, who served in the United States Marine Corps from June 2009 through March 2015, including a deployment to Afghanistan, was moved by the gift of the Americans with Disabilities Act-Accessible Hospitality as well as by the Hospitality that the family received from veterans, residents and wishes.
“For me and my family, we don’t have words to describe how we feel, what it means to us and how it will help us,” Stephenson said. “We are very grateful to the community as well as Operation Final Home and everyone involved for organizing this for us. I’m excited, but I’m also shocked – it’s not what I expected.
Stephenson was honorably released in March 2015 after receiving a Purple Heart for his combat injuries.
He was twice injured by improvised explosive devices, also known as improvised explosive devices, while ensuring the safety of military construction teams in Afghanistan.
The first incident caused only a minor concussion. However, a second IED attack knocked Stephenson nearly 200 feet from his vehicle and caused serious injuries.
Stephenson suffered a head trauma as well as injuries to his spine, elbow and legs. His left leg was amputated below the knee and he now suffers from PTSD from his experiences.
He has had several surgeries and continues to require frequent medical procedures due to his injuries.
In addition to receiving a Purple Heart for his combat injuries, Stephenson received a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a World War on Terror Service Medal, and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Star.
The Built to Honor program recognizes returning military personnel who were injured in service by providing mortgage-free housing for veterans and their families. Launched in 2013, the program has built and donated more than 60 homes across the country. The organization works in partnership with nonprofit organizations to identify veteran candidates.
Shawn Seaberg, president of the San Antonio division of PulteGroup, told the Stephenson family that employees have been eagerly awaiting the groundbreaking ceremony for months.
“It is our joy and pride to be able to give back to such deserving veterans as you, the Stephenson family, for all the sacrifices you have made to our country to make it as great as it is,” said Seaberg. “Our Built to Honor program is dear to the hearts of all of our employees. Our team has already worked very hard to ensure that this home will meet the needs of the Stephenson family. We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure this is a place where you can truly call your own home.
Seaberg added that the Stephenson House is the ninth project the home builder’s San Antonio division has embarked on.
“We have all heard the expression ‘freedom is not free’,” said Dan Wallrath, founder of Operation Last Home, which provides mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill and injured military veterans. wounded, first responders and fallen widows and their families. “Today you are looking at the price of freedom. We can do what we do every day with freedom thanks to these heroes. “
The non-partisan, nonprofit Operation Final Home was formed in 2005 and has completed or is in the process of planning over 300 home projects in more than 31 states.
The organization partners with corporate sponsors, builders associations, builders, renovators, developers, individual contributors and volunteers to help these families meet one of their most pressing needs: a place where to feel at home.
Stephenson enjoys hunting, camping and fishing. He works with a military contractor helping train individuals to become military police.
Jonathan and Alexandria are currently in college – he would like to work with prosthetics and she is studying towards a nursing degree.
The family currently lives in Schertz.