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US Army veteran, family surprised with mortgage-free home during the holidays

The good news to close out a tough year was enough to bring the family to tears.

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — A Tampa Bay U.S. Army veteran and his family of five are ringing in the new year with hope and tears of joy after receiving the gift of a lifetime  – a new home.

Javier Torres, a retired U.S. Army sergeant, was injured in 2004 when his platoon was ambushed and his Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. 

During the firefight, he was shot three times, and his fellow soldiers protected him before he was taken from the area by medevac. For his service, Torres was awarded several honors, including a Purple Heart. 

And now, PulteGroup’s Built to Honor Program and Operation Finally Home want to recognize his service and sacrifice by ensuring his family never has to pay their mortgage again. 

The new 2,100-square-foot, single-story home will be ready by the summer, according to a press release. But the Torres family was so excited about the surprise that they went to check out the land ahead of time. 

"We went to the land yesterday and actually stood in it. It's a place that we're going to grow, and we're looking forward to it," Javier said.

The good news to close out a tough year was enough to bring the family to tears.

"This home is more than we thought it would be. Just making it specially to me and my needs. So, grateful and blessed for sure. There's nothing else we could ask for or even wish upon," Javier said.

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