Wounded Purple Heart recipient surprised with custom-built home

SAN ANTONIO-- A wounded warrior was surprised with news he'll receive a one-of-a-kind custom built mortgage free smart home. The 23-year-old is a Purple Heart recipient who's also engaged to be married.

U.S. Army Specialist Michael Crawford thought he was going to HEB Market at Stone Oak to meet with a few people about being considered for a free home built by HEB with Operation Finally Home.

Operation Finally Home was established in 2005 as a nonprofit to provide mortgage free homes to America's military heroes and widows of the fallen.

Crawford was brought to tears and left breathless when the announcement was made that he was actually selected to receive a home.

"I don't even know where to start I was just coming here to do an interview then I get surprised with this so I don't even know where to begin," said Crawford.

Michael's fiancée Lauren and his younger brother Will were there to share the good news. It was overwhelming.

"Overwhelming, but it was a good overwhelming it just surprised me," he said. "This was definitely shocking. It's the gift that you can never ask for but once you get it you're just so grateful."

This American hero was wounded when an IED struck his vehicle in 2011. A spinal cord injury caused severe nerve damage. He's paralyzed in his right leg and has limited mobility of his left leg.

"It is truly an honor to present this deserving veteran with a uniquely customized home that will empower him to perform those everyday tasks that have been a struggle in the past," said Winell Herron, HEB Group Vice President of Public Affairs and Diversity. "Specialist Crawford has sacrificed so much for our country, and we are beyond thrilled to help him get back on his feet and start this exciting new chapter of his life."

Crawford currently lives in an apartment. He's looking for a fun and exciting job and will reside in New Braunfels where his American dream will be built.


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