Terminally ill Army veteran surprised with 'thank you' notes during visit to mortgage-free home

ABERDEEN, N.C. (WTVD) -- U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal and his family were surprised with hundreds of notes and drawings stapled to their Aberdeen home that's currently under construction.

"I don't, usually, get too emotional about a lot of stuff, but you know, it's something special when people across the country are reaching out to you," Stayskal said.

The notes were collected from the surrounding Moore County area and across the country.

This week will mark a year since Operation FINALLY HOME announced that the Stayskals would be receiving the mortgage-free home; it'll also be one year since the Green Beret helped get the Stayskal Act signed into law by President Trump.

The act allows military members, like Stayskal, to be compensated for malpractice in military facilities that are unrelated to combat.

Through all of his accomplishments, Stayskal continues to fight terminal lung cancer and has needed to deal with that battle during an unprecedented year.

"Every day is a blessing, you know. I wake up, definitely not without complications this year, of my own, with treatments and stuff," Stayskal said.

The structure and foundation of the Aberdeen home stand tall, but COVID-19 has led to delays in construction, pushing the project of the home to 2021.

Stayskal says the hundreds of notes that have been stapled onto the interior walls will stay put. "We're going to leave them there for sure... so that they're stuck with the house, and they're stuck with us forever."

Traci Adams, with Daniel Adams Construction, says they hope to see the home completed by possibly Spring 2021.

Stayskal tells Eyewitness News that he and his family are eager to call this work in progress home and will continue to push Congress to make sure his law leads to true compensation for military members.
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