Wounded veteran, family receive new home

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 11:40 PM

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas -- The old saying "No place like home for the holidays" will have special meaning for a local wounded warrior and his family this Christmas.

The lights are strung, wreaths are up and even the tree is ready for decorations. All that's missing is a family to make it a home.

"We look forward to our first Christmas in our first actually owned home," said SPC Justin Perez-Gorda.

Perez-Gorda, his wife Josephine and their two daughters cut the ribbon on their new home in Dripping Springs Tuesday with a crowd of their neighbors along for the celebration.

"[We're] very much overwhelmed, very happy. We're excited to be here today and receive the house and be a part of the Dripping Springs Community," he said.

Perez-Gorda suffered a traumatic brain injury on his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 and became a paraplegic. The non-profit Homes for our Troops custom built the house just for him and his family.

"There's plenty of counter space for Josie to cook and make cookies and cakes and all that good stuff. The kids have their room and their own bathroom," Perez-Gorda described. "We have a huge walk-in shower, and that's really nice where I don't have to do much transfering and stuff. Everything is accessible."

Josephine has been taking care of her husband since he returned. She says this home lifts a big burden.

"He doesn't have to feel financially strapped every month to where he has to make a mortgage and car payment. So it's going to take a lot of stress off of him," she said.

And it gives them the chance to enjoy the simple things.

"Justin gets to go into a huge garage while I watch my soap opera," she laughed.

Last but certainly not least, an American flag was raised in the front yard. It's a reminder of why we're here and a celebration of being home for the holidays.

Austin holiday light company, Christmas Decor by Longhorn Services, surprised the family with Christmas decorations for their new home. The lights are red, white and blue.

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