Veteran surprised with brand new mortgage-free home

MAPLE GROVE, Minn – Staff Sgt. Andrew Walker and his wife Meg received the keys to their new mortgage-free home.

The fully furnished 5-000 square foot home was built and donated through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program. The program works in partnership with Operation Finally Home, a nonpartisan/nonprofit organization that identifies veteran candidates and helps bring together builders, contractors, manufacturers and sponsors throughout the country.

The program is used as an avenue to say ‘thanks’ to military personnel injured during service. In 2012, Walker was injured while deployed in Afghanistan. His vehicle ran over an IED. He is a member of the Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 12.55.50 PM

During his service, Walker removed more than 3,500 pounds of explosives from the battlefield. He completed 90 combat missions and 13 operations. He received a Purple Heart and Bronze star.

He now lives with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

The Maple Grove community welcomed Staff Sgt. Andrew Walker with open arms. Instead of boxes, a motorcade of motorcycles replaced moving trucks. Instead of cookies from neighbors, the Minnesota Wild’s Nate Prosser greeted the couple.

“I pray to the Lord every day for people like you,” Prosser said. “You are a true hero. I wanted to say thank you for all of the sacrifices that you and your wife have made.”

Staff Sgt Walker was overwhelmed with joy when he and his wife received the keys to their new home. During a ceremony, he thanked the men and women who made the day possible.

“This is our dream place. We can’t thank you enough,” he said. “I cannot overstate how much of a blessing this is for us.”

Molly Halliday, the vice president of marking for Operation Finally Home, said she interviews and helps select the candidates for the mortgage-free homes. During that process, she developed a relationship with the Walker couple.

“While they don’t have a mortgage they did pay a price,” she said. “Andrew served our country. And Meg supported him.”

Halliday said the group has built 88 homes across the country. The Walker home is the first in Minnesota.