Sgt. James Miller, his wife and four young children arrived at a Victorville house not realizing what was about to happen.
A national organization known as HomeStrong USA honors the contributions of veterans by giving newly-renovated houses to military families Sgt. Miller thought his family was among the finalists being considered.
"I'd like to inform you that there are no other finalists, and these are the keys to your new home," HomeStrong CEO Jed Davis told the Miller family.
Miller was stunned and overcome with emotion. Many of the families and friends gathered for the home donation shed tears as well.
Miller enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He received a Purple Heart after being injured in a 2009 attack in Afghanistan.
The veteran's fellow soldier and close friend, Sidney Bailey, made a surprise appearance.
"He's also my daughter's godfather. We served together in Afghanistan," said Miller. "He was also in the truck with me when we got blown up, and we both received our Purple Hearts at the same time."
"When bullets start flying, he's the guy you want standing next to you," said Bailey.
The Millers say the donation of the home will change their lives.
"I was at a loss for words; my mind was blank. I just didn't know what to say," said Miller. "This is a huge relief off of us, and we don't have to worry about a mortgage payment or a rent payment."
"It's unreal to believe that we have something that's ours, and my kids have a place that they get to lay down every night and know that this is our home and no one's going to take it," said Jacqueline Miller, Sgt. Miller's wife.
HomeStrong USA partners with several businesses and charities to make the home donations possible. This was their fourth dedication and donation this year.