Ret. Army vet calls newly donated home a “place of comfort”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Medically retired Army specialist Brandon Garrison opened a new era in his life as a homeowner. It's the first home he's ever owned.

After years of moving from place to place while serving in the Army, the Leavenworth native served 17 months in Afghanistan. He was a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital where he was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It's a place of comfort," he said of his new home. "When you move around a lot, it's hard to get stability. Finally, when we walked in that door, we realized there was no more moving."

Garrison first learned he was received keys to a new home Sunday night with thousands looking on at Union Station's Celebration at the Station. Garrison and his fiancée, Katherine Williams, had looked into qualifying for the house over a month ago. They never imagined they'd get it for free.

"It's a wonderful feeling knowing you have a home," Williams said. "You have a place where you can come home and have a family. It's just amazing."

Garrison qualified for a mortgage-free donation through Bank of America's property donation program, which awards rehabbed homes to military veterans and first responders.

"Finally, we have a place where we can plant our roots and say we're home for good," he said.

Garrison and Williams said they're looking forward to another joyous occasion: their wedding, planned for 2015.

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