Fallen hero's family surprised to get new home


Sgt. Andrew Harvel died when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. Since then, his widow and two young children have been living in California.

However, a local group surprised the family Friday evening with a brand new house.

It was a surprise homecoming Krista Harvel had almost stopped dreaming about.

"This is our new beginning, so thank you," said Harvel.

Harvel's husband, a combat controller was killed in Afghanistan in August 2011. She and her two sons lived in California, but dreamed of home in Moore County where her family and many friends were.

Friends, family, veterans, and civic leaders were in the stands for the special occasion.

The presentation was part of a military appreciation ceremony at Pinecrest High School. Krista and her family were invited, but didn't know she had been selected for a new home by Operation Finally Home.

"We identify the families then reach out to local builders, and developers in the area where families need to live where they have got that family support system," said Lee Kirgan with Operation Finally Home.

An Army veteran parachute team landed on the football field carrying the new home's blueprints. Local builders and contractors jumped at the opportunity, to make it happen.

"This is a community effort," said Paula Nash, with the Association of Realtors. "This family was stationed here previously. They have paid their dues."

Harvel said she will never forget will never forget her surprise. She says there no place like home.

"The people here are like no other place," she said. "It's good to have you back. Thank you so much.

Organizers say it's a small price to pay for such a big debt of honor.

"The message is thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is a small token of our appreciation," said Kirgan.

The groundbreaking for Harvel's new home is Saturday at 10 a.m. in Aberdeen. Contractors say it should be ready for the family to move into by March or April.

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