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Warsaw veteran and family finally home

WARSAW, Ind. - After surprising a disabled veteran and his family with the promise for a new house in November, Operation FINALLY HOME handed over the keys Thursday.

ABC 57 News has been following the Raymer family’s journey from the beginning. CLICK HERE to see the initial surprise—and HERE to see the groundbreaking.

The whole thing was made possible by the non-profit Operation FINALLY HOME, which builds houses for vets for free to thank them for their service.

The Raymer family was in shock when they walked through the door of their brand new home.

“Just the jaw-dropping wow!” said disabled Army veteran, Justin Raymer.

This ten month process started with a ‘wow’ at the Wagon Wheel Theatre back in November

Now, it’s ending with a mailbox to call their own, front yard to fit their five kids, and gaping mouths in awe of their new digs.

“I grew up here. This is home,” said Justin.

“We didn’t realize how much we needed family until we got here, because we were used to being on our own,” said Justin’s wife, Kaci Raymer.

After Justin suffered a traumatic brain injury in his last of three tours in Iraq, the family wasn’t sure they’d ever be able to afford a house of their own.

“You come back from a deployment and everything’s different, you know I’m different. Family’s different. Times have changed,” said Justin.

“Especially with his injuries, being 100% disabled and being the young man that he is with five kids, they need our help…You know as builders, the only thing we can do is just build homes, so we have to find families where building a new home for them is going to help them move forward in life,” said Dan Wallrath, Founder and President of Operation FINALLY HOME.

This home in Warsaw marks the 132nd house for which the non-profit has cut the ribbon since it was founded in 2005.

It’s the first build ever in Indiana and the smallest community they’ve worked with to date.

“We can show people that hey, you don’t have to be Dallas, Texas, where the organization is from and many other big markets. We still got the same people that care and want,” said Owner and President of R.W. Kidd Construction, John Kidd.

“This is a special opportunity to give something back to someone who has given so much to our great country,” said Rick Wajda, Executive Officer for the Indiana Builders’ Association.

“He doesn’t have a job anymore, he was in the army, that was his job, and now he can’t do that anymore because of his service…and I’m repaying a debt to him, because he deserves this. He’s earned this from us,” said Kidd.

“It’s hard to put in words, because the whole community came together for the project to bring us back to Warsaw,” said Justin.

“Excited. This house is amazing, it’s more than I could have imagined,” said Kaci.

Operation FINALLY HOME says Warsaw really came through with volunteer labor, donated materials, and cash rate to get the house up.

They and the Indiana Builders’ Association hope that this first home snowballs into many more across the state.

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