Veteran services

Injured Houston veteran gets mortgage-free home near Katy

On Cherry Vine Road in the Jordan Ranch subdivision of Fulshear, a house is under construction. The frame is ready and the pipes and wires are installed. However, this is no ordinary suburban home.

Words were noted on its plywood panels and gray drywall primer, but they are neither measurements nor instructions. They are messages of love and gratitude.

“A strong army.”

“You are loved”

“Thank you for your service.”

“May your walls contain joy; every room contains laughter and every window is open to great possibilities.

This is the brand new residence of Purple Heart recipient Fernando Del Pozo Jr.. On Friday afternoon, Fernando and Adreena Del Pozo and their three young children Trey, Ari and Lio visited their future complete home. The young family walked from beam to beam, reading the messages scribbled on the walls by grateful neighbors and volunteers.

Last month, the Del Pozo family received an extraordinary surprise when they were selected to receive a mortgage-free, custom-built home from the national non-profit organization Operation Finally Home. OPFH partnered with Texas-based builder Highland Homes to design the 2,500 square foot home.

OPFH provides homes with modifications for wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their families. Like most OPFH houses, it has one floor and is wheelchair friendly. Del Pozo does not use a wheelchair, but occasionally uses a cane, having suffered multiple injuries while serving in Afghanistan.

“I had a lot of crashes, my knees are just awful,” he said. “I will be able to move freely without any obstacles.”

The Del Pozo home is the 213th specially modified home the OPFH has custom-built for a veteran.

“Almost all of our veterans have to take medication to sleep,” said Lee Kirgan, vice president of construction at OPFH. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a veteran tell me after I’ve been in one of those homes for a while that when he’s had a bad night and he doesn’t just couldn’t fall asleep, they think about the notes, about all the love around them in the house. This calms them down and allows them to sleep.

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home is expected to be ready by November. There is also a private study and a games room. OPFH and Highland Homes have been aided in their efforts by Johnson Development, Houston Texans, USAA and the Greater Houston Builders Association.

“We have done a few things to make the house a home that (Fernando) can live in for the rest of his life, which is also suitable for his future needs,” said Jarod Mouton, regional manager of Highland Homes. .

Del Pozo grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He joined the military at age 23 in 2009 and was stationed in Tacoma, Wash. during his six-year military career, which included a year-long combat deployment to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012.

Del Pozo served as the main gunner while deployed. His convoy was attacked twice in the space of six months.

“In 2011 I had an IED attack – it wasn’t too bad, but I had hearing loss and bruised ribs,” Del Pozo said. “Then there was another IED attack, but that one I didn’t leave. He overturned my vehicle.

Del Pozo was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. The IED blast left him with a traumatic brain injury, chronic, movement-limiting back pain, arthritis throughout his body, combat-related PTSD, and anxiety.

“So there was a lot of physical therapy. Some days I have my cane or my kneepad, some days I don’t.

Del Pozo said he chose to move to Houston primarily for the warm weather, which has a soothing effect on his injuries.

“I need the sun and the heat to survive, like Superman,” he said. “I also have family in Texas. Houston has a huge veteran community. I am also one of the injured veterans.

The Del Pozos currently live in Hockley near Houston, however, the family is looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving at their new home.

“It’s nothing but love,” he said, looking around. “It’s phenomenal.”

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