PARKER, Colo. — It’s the most expensive investment many will ever make.
But one Parker family got the keys to a brand-new, mortgage-free home Saturday.
It’s the 166th house built in 39 states by the non-profit Homes for Our Troops — twelve of these homes are in Colorado.
The Martinez family moves in Sunday.
A fire truck dropped off the family at their new, 2,700 square feet home in Parker as dozens cheer them on.
But Gabe Martinez paid a high price to live there, and it’s a welcome to the neighborhood like no other.
Gabe paid for the house in his blood.
“On Thanksgiving Day 2010, on my second deployment to Afghanistan, I stepped on a 20-pound improvised explosive device,” said the former Marine Sergent.
Homes For Our Troops wanted to make it right with a gift of a new home.
“What we are doing today Gabe is not charity,” said Tim McHale, president of Home for Our Troops. “We believe this is a moral obligation of our society to take care of our veterans.”
Gabe said he’ll continue to protect and serve out of his uniform.
“I can’t do anything right now,” Boston Marathon bombing victim Celeste Corcoran said to Gabe in April. “I’m telling you with all my heart, you are going to be more independent than you ever were.”
Their exchange was videotaped and posted on YouTube.
Gabe visited two victims of the bombings in the hospital.
Concoran also lost both legs.
“When I saw that happened here on U.S. soil, it struck home,” said Gabe. “And I could really relate. That’s how I lost my legs, through an IED.”
The lose meant gaining a new home, a four-bedroom home with 155 special adaptations, from automatic door openers, to a roll-in shower and roll-in countertops.
“It’s just a lot of stress relieved off our shoulders, if anything should happen to me I know Gabe can raise our kids in a home that accessible,” said Gabe’s wife, Kayla.
They said they are excited to make the new home theirs.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank the organization Homes for Our Troops and everyone else out there that supports myself and other troops,” saidGabe.
Each home averages $430,000, all of it from donors — not a dime of government funding.
The non-profit is also already at work building a home in Broomfield for a soldier who lost an arm and both legs.