CYPRESS, Texas - Marine Sgt. Marty Gonzalez fought in the firefights of Fallujah, Iraq, and received three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars after he took a grenade to the face and insurgent bullets through his right arm.
On Monday in Cypress, he also received a new home.
Gonzalez, his wife Tawnee and their three young children are the newest recipients of the HelpingaHero.org Home Program. Provided by Mischer Investments and Perry homes the 4-bedroom, 3-bath home sits in a newly developed cul-de-sac in the Cypress Creek Lakes Community.
On Monday, dozens of friends, family, dignitaries and new neighbors welcomed the Gonzalez family with a home presentation ceremony.
Houston Astros legend Craig Biggio, whom Gonzalez first met when he was a teenage Astros fan, helped present Gonzalez with the keys to the new home. H-E-B stocked the refrigerator and pantry, Rooms to Go furnished the entire home and Spark Energy will provide free electricity for a full year. The insurance firm Bowen Miclette & Britt is also giving the family a year of free insurance while Maid Brigade will help clean the home for a year as well.
This is our little piece of heaven right here, Tawnee Gonzalez said.
HelpingaHero.org has awarded more than 90 homes in 21 states to wounded warriors and their families. Gonzalez, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and also suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, said he is honored to be among the Marines chosen.
It's breathtaking and it s just, every person that had a piece of this is, he said struggling through his emotions. I mean I'm so grateful, added Gonzalez, whose recovery has included more than nine surgeries.
The program provides the Gonzalez family with a home worth in excess of $250,000 with just a $50,000 mortgage.
It's like we can finally take a breath knowing we have a place to call home. It's wonderful, said Tawnee Gonzalez. We'd be happy in a cardboard box together. So to be in this amazing beautiful home where we can raise our family and make memories for the rest of our lives it's truly amazing.
And the Marine sergeant is still serving his community. He has played a pivotal role in helping form the Veteran s Court in Harris County, a judicial court designed specifically with the needs of servicemen in mind.
Was it worth the sacrifice, asked Marine Capt. Dan Moran during the presentation ceremony. It's days like today that remind me and my brothers and sisters who served in arms, absolutely.
For more information: www.HelpingaHero.org.