AUSTIN, Texas — Trying to get re-acclimated to society after serving in the military can be difficult. Sometimes, a gesture of support can go a long way.
Friday night, an Austin veteran received something that caught him by surprise.
After the fourth inning of every home Round Rock Express game, the staff will play the game "What's in the Box?" where a random fan tries to guess what prize is in a box. At the July 2 game versus the Sacramento River Cats, the Express coordinated a surprise that was a little more planned than usual.
Christopher Livesay joined the military in 1991 out of Dallas, following the footsteps of his family members. His father, grandfather and brother are all war veterans.
"My grandfather served in World War II," Livesay said. "My father did three tours in Vietnam. Then my brother and I both served in Iraq and also served in Afghanistan."
When Livesay served in Baghdad in 2003, his team was ambushed. After a bullet passed through his left knee, doctors later had to amputate his leg.
"Those were some pretty ugly days, so I'm very lucky to be here," Livesay said.
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At the end of the fourth inning during "What's in the Box?," Livesay thought he was randomly chosen. When he correctly guessed what was in the box correctly – a key – he opened the box to find a key to a brand new, mortgage-free house.
"It's a relief," Livesay said. "I can't believe this happened."
This gift came from the nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes. This organization gives homes to veterans who served during the time of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The nonprofit aims to gift as many as 33 homes in 2019, which comes out to one home every 11 days.
"It's one thing I don't have to worry about now," Livesay said. "I'm so thankful."
The goal is for Livesay and his family to move into their new home by the end of the year. Livesay said he thought he was at the game Friday night as just one of thousands of candidates that could receive a new home. He thought he was there only to support the nonprofit. Instead, he left with a new home.
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