When Sara Wood attended a football game with her son this week she knew two things: Her husband's military service would be honored by the crowd, and her son Landon would get some Christmas presents.
But what she didn't know was that she and her son would also receive one more present, this one a tad larger than you might expect: a house.
To the approval of a roaring crowd, the mother and son were informed over a loudspeaker at a Houston Texans game this Sunday that they would soon receive their own mortgage-free house, FoxSports Houston reports.
Woods' husband, Scott Wood, died reportedly due to combat injuries sustained four weeks ago. Her gift was announced at the Texans game because the Marine was a huge fan of the team. In fact, according to FoxSports Houston, he was actually buried wearing an Andre Johnson jersey underneath his military uniform.
Since Scott's death, Sara and Landon had evidently been facing a grim financial future. According to FoxSports Houston, they were living in the same room and sleeping in the same bed in Sara's parents' house.
But by arranging the donation of the home, Operation Finally Home changed all of that. The program, founded by Dan Wallrath, who is a Houston builder, solicits donated materials and land and offers his own company's labor for free to build homes for disabled veterans, and widows of servicemen like Sara.
The mother and son's new home will be built in Alvin, Texas. Since construction hasn't begun yet, Sara will have the opportunity to have a say in its design.
If history tells us anything, Sara can expect quite a comfortable home to live in. In the past, Wallrath has coordinated the donation of five, 3,000-square-foot, one-acre homes to disabled veterans in Gunter, Texas. In total, he has so far helped give 32 home to vets or their families, FoxSports Houston reports.
While many vets struggle to stay current on their mortgages, news regularly breaks of down-and-out service members or their families who are bailed out by caring communities or nonprofits. On one occasion, an injured war hero avoided losing his home in Costa Mesa, Calif., after he was flooded with donations when his imminent foreclosure was reported on television.
But while there are many heartwarming stories of communities rallying behind struggling veterans in their midst, there also appear to be a fair share of instances in which neighbors have behaved callously toward service members. One vet in Springfield, Ore., was threatened with eviction if he displayed an American flag outside his apartment, while a wheelchair-bound vet had construction of his disabled-accessible home halted by an HOA that was concerned over the house's potentially negative impact on property values.