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Building Homes for Heroes® News

Emotional Home Gifting on May 3 in Lakeland, Fla.


It was an emotional day on May 3, in Lakeland, Florida, as Army Staff Sergeant Anthony Cala, his wife Jennifer, and their two young children were the recipients of a mortgage-free home, courtesy of Building Homes for Heroes.

Staff Sergeant Cala suffered many injuries during his more than a decade of service, stemming from an IED explosion and many other traumatic incidents. For years since his deployment, he has battled PTSD as he and his family have moved from place to place.

“13 years Jennifer and I have been married, we have literally moved every year,” said Staff Sergeant Cala during the ceremony. “To a new school, to a new apartment … so for this, I don’t have that stress anymore. I don’t have that anxiety feeling of where are we going to live next when our yearly lease is up? What are we going to do? Where am I going to work? Is my family going to be safe?

The decorated veteran was in tears as he walked from room-to-room, exploring his new home. U.S. Representative Dennis Ross, who presides over Florida's 15th Congressional District, was on hand to lend his appreciation to Staff Sergeant Cala. 

“Pinch me because it feels like I’m still in a dream,” he said. “To see my kids smile and be happy that they don’t have to move anymore. Words can’t express that.”

Building Homes for Heroes is hoping to gift as many as 36 mortgage-free homes in 2016, equal to one home every 10 days.