Ground broken on free home to Army veteran in Perris

PERRIS, Calif. (KABC) -- An Army veteran was welcomed to his new neighborhood in Perris after being chosen to receive a custom built, mortgage-free home.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Oskar Zepeda sacrificed for his country and earned numerous honors, including the Purple Heart.

On Thursday, members of his community gave Oskar Zepeda a hero's welcome as he and his family saw the site of their future home for the first time thanks to Operation Finally Home.

"I was just shocked. It was emotional. It was just an overwhelming feeling. A good feeling though," Oskar Zepeda said.

The non-profit's mission is simple: To honor the sacrifice of veterans and the widows of the fallen with a home of their own.

Oskar Zepeda served nine deployments overseas before he was seriously wounded in action.

"He's someone who wants to pay it forward and help other veterans who have come back injured as well," Ronnie Lyles with Operation Finally Home said.

Pulte Homes along with dozens of local trade partners will build the home around Oskar Zepeda's needs.

The Zepeda family is expected to move into the new home by August.

"I know we are going to sit with designers here shortly and we're going to be able to pick out different things for the home," Lisa Zepeda, Oskar Zepeda's wife said.

The home will feature a nursery for the newest addition to the family: A baby boy.

"This is just like a breath of fresh air, like finally that's one thing we don't have to worry about. We can focus on our family, on us, my rehab, and not have to worry about a mortgage payment," Oskar Zepeda said.

The Zepeda family said they feel blessed to be welcomed to the community with open arms.

"It's exciting, we feel very blessed and we know that this is such a great gift," Lisa Zepeda said.
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