Wounded Army Veteran Hugo Gonzalez And Family Move Into Mortgage-Free Port St. Lucie Home From Building Homes for Heroes
A new family moved into Port St. Lucie on Saturday, but it was no ordinary move-in day.
Hugo Gonzalez, a wounded Army veteran, along with his wife and three girls, were given the keys to a new mortgage-free home, which had been entirely renovated and customized for the vet by the nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes.
During his service in Iraq, Gonzalez, a U.S. Army Specialist, was injured in combat. In June 2004, an improvised explosive device (IED) hit his patrol vehicle, and a gun battle broke out. Gonzalez suffered brain trauma, a sinus bone fracture and a crushed optic nerve in his right eye.
To help make life easier for Gonzalez, who is now legally blind, the walls in his new home are equipped with chair rails so he can find his way around the house, the flooring transitions so he knows what room he is entering, and the thermostats talk aloud. Gonzalez even has his own tranquility room as a quiet space for when he needs it.
Gonzalez, wife Any, and their daughters had been living in Miami but wanted to re-locate elsewhere in Florida. Chase Bank donated a foreclosed home in Port St. Lucie.
The family was shown the house before any renovations were made, according to Kim Valdyke, Florida events planner and volunteer coordinator for Building Homes for Heroes. The Gonzalezes told the nonprofit they would like to live there.
Like all veterans awarded a home from Building Homes for Heroes, Gonzalez applied online. Selected recipients must have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and have a disability as deemed by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
See more photos from Gonzalez's move-in day below:
(Photos courtesy Building Homes for Heroes)