'It's kinda surreal:' Purple Heart recipient, family gifted mortgage-free home in Garner

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GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thursday, a local Marine veteran and his family were given the gift of a lifetime thanks to an organization that specializes in providing for military families.

ABC11 was first introduced to Matthew Polizzi when it was announced in December 2020 his family would receive the next new Hero Home. Thursday, the family got their first look at the new home.

It's not every day you're given the keys to your new home by parachuters.

But the Polizzi family was in for a lot of surprises Thursday, the biggest one being the brand new home.

"It's kinda surreal who gets gifted a house for anything. It's incredible; it'll be nice to get our stuff in here it's just incredible," Polizzi said from his new home.

Polizzi is a retired marine who served 14 years deployed four times and received a Purple Heart from an injury in Afghanistan.

"It's a tough life I spent my years in the infantry as a drill instructor and it really takes a toll on them honestly all the deployments and the time you're away but it's good now that I'm retired getting back to being with family and now we have a house to be instead of them moving," he explained.

All of this was made possible by Operation Coming Home.

"You select a builder you select a family you get the lot donated and Mattamy homes agreed this is their second home under Mattamy homes they agreed to do this program and when the rest of the vendors found out Mattamy was going to do it they stepped up to make this happen," said President of Operation Coming Home Us Veteran Corp.

Operation: Coming Home (OCH) is a partnership between members of the U.S. Veterans Corps (USVC), the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County (HBA) and various area nonprofits and businesses. Made up of veterans and non-veterans, the construction crew is honoring the sacrifices of the severely wounded veterans of recent wars in the Middle East by building homes for them, at no charge.

Ladner said providing for veterans like Matthew and his family is very exciting

"When they see the specialty items and go through the room and even see that we have a surprise for the dogs they are going to be emotional," he explained.

This is hero home number 23. Operation Coming home has been doing this since 2008 and they say they can't wait to do hero house number 24.
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