LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- They risk everything while defending our nation.
On Saturday morning, one wounded U.S. military veteran gets something back, as he's given the keys to a brand new home.
The home of the brave is his sacred treasure, to be certain. Disabled U.S. Marine Sgt. Dustin Johns hails from the metro, growing up in Odessa, and now, residing in Lee’s Summit. In November 2011 while serving our nation in Afghanistan, he suffered severe injuries, costing him both legs and several fingers on one hand.
A hero's welcome awaited Sgt. Johns and his family on Saturday morning, as they pulled into the driveway of their brand new four bedroom home. It comes to the Johns family with no monthly mortgage payment whatsoever.
Since that accident in late 2011, Johns endured 10 months of rehabilitation at Walter Reed Hospital, learning to walk on new prosthetic legs. Johns says he often uses a wheelchair while he’s resting at home.
Now, Johns, who served eight years in the United States Marine Corps, says he’s honored to walk through the door of his forever home, one that he and his family have been waiting months to enter.
“They've really thought through everything and made it something that is really tailored to someone like myself,” Johns said.
A large crowd showed up to welcome the Johns, many of whom are also volunteer, working through a non-profit group called Homes For Our Troops. Tim McHale leads that special group, which works with local builders to ensure these homes are decked out with special adaptive features, such as countertops at wheelchair height and larger hallways and bathroom fixtures.
“This home is giving back some of the freedom and independence they lost when they were severely injured on the battlefield,” McHale said.
“It's absolutely a dream come true for them,” Oliver Vizitei said.
Vizitei, a U.S. Air Force veteran in his own right, is a close friend to the Johns family. He says our nation owes this kind of tribute to wounded warriors.
“You really feel like you owe it to give back to them and to try to repay any way you can,” Vizitei said.
“I'm excited. We're anxious to get in, and enjoy it,” Sgt. Johns told FOX 4 News.
The Johns will never see a mortgage payment for his new home. Leaders at Homes For Our Troops say that's not charity. That's an obligation they recognize in taking care of American patriots.