Army veteran encouraged by messages written within walls of new home
By JESSICA POUNDS | Cleburne Times-Review, Texas | Published: August 22, 2019
(Tribune News Service) — “May this home serve as a reminder that you are appreciated and valued.”
That’s just one of the inspirational messages of support and encouragement on the studs of an unfinished home in Burleson, Texas.
“May God bless this home and your family,” Burleson Police Chief Billy Cordell wrote on one wall.
The home, which should be finished by Thanksgiving, has been gifted to U.S. Army veteran John Arroyo and his wife, Angel, through Operation FINALLY HOME.
OFH provides homes and home modifications to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen, in partnership with Lennar, a nationwide home-building company.
The Arroyos found out they were the recipients of the custom-built, mortgage-free home in August when they showed up for what they believed was an interview. Instead, the community was there to welcome them to the neighborhood during a ground-breaking ceremony.
Last week, neighbors and community members came out again to write messages on the walls before they are finished.
“It’s a reminder that we’re still the United States,” Arroyo said. “That men and women in communities in our nation still have that sense of community.”
Arroyo said everything about their new home has been an answered prayer.
“In our prayers and hearts we’ve asked Jesus for just specific things on this home,” Arroyo said. “When we walked through the home [Friday] and saw the notes of love, we saw that everything that was in our hearts and prayers was already provided. When you can lean on your faith and community, it’s just amazing.”
At just 20 years old, Arroyo enlisted in the military and his first assignment was in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the 82nd Airborne Division.
A few years later he became an Army Green Beret as part of the 3rd Special Forces Group during the Global War on Terrorism, and deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
After transitioning from enlisted soldier to commissioned officer, Arroyo was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
One day he heard gunshots on base and before he could react he was shot in the throat in what would become the second mass shooting at Fort Hood.
Although he had a long road to recovery, Arroyo continued to serve in the Army for another five years. He still suffers from residual nerve damage and migraines sustained from his gunshot wound.
Now, Arroyo works for the Dave Roever Foundation in Fort Worth, which provides assistance to wounded warriors. He and his wife have three children and two grandchildren.