Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — A group of area veterans is taking care of their own, building houses and giving them free to wounded soldiers.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood as part of "Operation Coming Home" to build a house for Marine Sgt. Stanley Roberts, 29, who was wounded in Iraq.
"This is a big honor to have a house built for you," Roberts said.
Roberts served three tours in Iraq before he lost his right leg in combat. He also suffered an injury to his right arm and traumatic brain damage.
"Operation Coming Home," a group of veterans turned real estate agents and home builders, decided to make Roberts the next recipient of their generosity. The group is donating the materials and labor to build the house.
They're getting support from Royal Oaks Building Group, the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County, the Triangle Real Estate and Construction Veterans and the Armed Forces Foundation.
"It's a fully handicapped-accessible house, and it's going to be on the Parade of Homes" this fall, said Warren Smith, with the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.
Roberts will have a lot in common with one of his neighbors: Army Sgt. Joseph Bozik, who was the first recipient of an "Operation Coming Home" house in 2008.
"Stan and I are going to start off with an immediate connection with the homes," Bozik said. "And he has children. I have children."
"He was at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center). So was I," Roberts said. "He was there while I was there. I probably ran into him a dozen times and don't even remember it."
Roberts and his wife, Crissy, plan to move into the new house this fall. He's pursing a degree in computer engineering and wants to continue to serve his country by working for the FBI.
He said he considers the gift of a house to be a special blessing.
"I don't think there's any words you can say, other than 'Thank you,'" Roberts said. "It seems like everything I say just pales in comparison."