PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Thanks to a partnership between Operation Finally Home, Scott Felder Homes and Tiemann Land and Cattle Development, one local Marine and his family have received the donation of a lifetime.
Cpl. William Makaafi and his family were surprised with the news Wednesday that they will be receiving a mortgage-free home in Pflugerville.
During the preliminary interview process with Operation Finally Home and Scott Felder Homes, William and his wife, Precious, were told they were driving to the neighborhood to "look around" and meet the builder onsite, but they were also intercepted by the Pflugerville Police Department and Patriot Guard Riders to escort them to their new homesite.
As part of the surprise, the couple also read inspirational words of support and encouragement left on the studs of the unfinished home by the community.
The new home is located in the Blackhawk community of Pflugerville.
Organizers said Cpl. Makaafi witnessed a lot of troubling sights during his service in the Marines. In April 2009 while deployed in Iraq, his unit lost a soldier in action. Not even a year later, his battalion lost 25 men in the line of duty, many of which he completed boot camp with.
"Adjusting to life after returning home from the military has been very rough for Makaafi," organizers said. "The emotional toll of losing so many friends and fellow soldiers has made everyday life extremely difficult. Additionally, Makaafi has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) with migraines and memory loss and chronic lumbar strain, which has made it impossible for him to maintain employment."
They said that, despite these obstacles, he has found an outlet in volunteering with the community. He is currently involved in multiple nonprofits and has started a YouTube channel with a fellow Marine to discuss their struggles.
Cpl. Makaafi's honors include the Marine Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Star, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, among others.
The Makaafis currently live in California and had hopes to move to Texas to be closer to family and more healthcare options.