ROYSE CITY, Texas - An Army veteran and his family are celebrating Christmas early in their brand new Royce City home gifted to them mortgage-free by several community organizations.
It was a warm welcome home Thursday for the Endsley family as they move into their new house just in time for the holidays.
U.S. Army specialist John Endsley served three years of active duty and was deployed to Iraq. Since coming home, he’s been diagnosed with PTSD and a number of health issues, including hearing loss and chronic pain that have left him disabled.
John, his wife and their five kids have been staying with family. But they now have their own place to call home.
"This is an incredible thing we’re witnessing today. It’s a gift that is to my family," he said. "Priceless."
Some of the children are excited to have their own space since they no longer have to share beds.
"I’m excited," said daughter Zoey Endsley. "Because whenever I sleep, AJ rolls over and almost knocks me off the bed."
"It makes me feel really happy that people have given us this house," said daughter AJ Endsley. "It makes me feel like people actually care about us."
The Endsleys broke ground on their new home in July thanks to donations from organizations like Operation Finally Home, Trophy Signature Homes, and MA Partners.
"Seeing it now from when we were here and just dirt to a house that’s fully finished and it’s ours is crazy," said wife Kelli Endsley.
The family is now excited to spend their first Christmas together in their new home gifted to them mortgage-free.
"It’s unbelievable. I still have trouble believing it’s real," John said. "Money’s usually tight around the house, especially around the holidays. So a gift like this couldn’t be more appreciated."
Operation Finally Home has been gifting wounded veterans and first responders since 2005. So far, they have 350 homes that been completed or are in the works.