Wounded veteran gets mortgage-free home

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on June 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 6 at 6:41 PM

ELGIN, Texas -- A wounded warrior and his family got the keys to their new home June 6, and it's all mortgage-free.

It's part of a program called the Military Warriors Support Foundation through Bank of America. The company gives homes to families who served and sacrificed for their country.

An American flag already marks the Elgin home.

"I'm speechless at the house," SPC Rocky Rocha said.

SPC Rocha and his family are moving into a two-story brick home in Elgin. His three children didn't waste any time running upstairs to pick out their rooms.

"I get to have my own room now, so I'm excited," said 16-year-old Brianah Rocha.

Thanks to Bank of America, they're living mortgage-free.

"That is a nice view," Rocha said to his wife, looking out the window upstairs.

Rocha served in the Army from 2005 to 2012, including two tours in Iraq.

"It's pretty rough being in the Army, especially. We're not on six-month deployment. We're on year deployment, so when you get to come home for two weeks out of that whole year, it goes by pretty quick," SPC Rocha explained.

He retired and came home with numerous medals and awards -- among them are a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge.

"In that first deployment I got blown up twice," Rocha said. "One while I was mounted into a vehicle, we were driving down in a convoy, an IED hit us on our front, right tire."

Bank of America will give up to 1,000 homes nationwide. The bank foreclosed on the home in Elgin, and Thursday the company told Rocha and his family they can move in.

"We know that giving it to these very responsible people improves the neighborhoods in which these homes are located," said Bank President Kenny Wilson.

More than that, Wilson says it improves the life of this family.

"Now they can have a normal life. Financially, emotionally and just from a pride standpoint, they have an opportunity to have a fine home in a great neighborhood close to great schools and provide for their family after they've given so much," Wilson said.

After serving nearly eight years in the Army, this decorated veteran says family time is something he doesn't take for granted.

"Knowing I won't have to look forward to another deployment, I get to hang out with my family now is pretty awesome," Rocha said. "We're going to have a lot of great memories and times in this house."

There are also ways you can help. Bank of America is donating up to $1 million as part of their Express Your Thanks campaign. By sending in pictures, messages or just tweeting, you can help them reach their goal. From now until Veteran's Day, November 11, if you send in pictures, videos, messages or a tweet with the tag #troopthanks, each expression will generate a $1 donation to Welcome Back Veterans and The Wounded Warrior Project.

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