A few golden shovels have marked the beginning of a project that will change countless lives in Central Texas.
"We believe that everyone deserves a home, but we also believe that every veteran deserves a welcome home," said Ken Cates, CEO of Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.
For about two years, Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity has been working with Temple city leaders to bring its Veteran Community to life.
"I don't look like it because I'm not kicking my heels right now, but it is exciting," Cates said. "It's been a long time coming."
In a matter of months, a two and a half acre lot will be filled with 13 duplexes that will serve 26 of our nation's heroes who are struggling to make ends meet.
"It's not a handout, it's a hand up," Cates said. "So they're going to actually pay a mortgage, it's just going to be at an extremely reduced rate because of the volunteers that are coming out and because of all the donations that will reduce the overall cost of the home."
To make the project even more special, it's being named in honor of Lee Crossley, an influential local veteran who passed away in 2014.
"I try not to be too emotional. I can pretty well keep it in check, but it brought tears to my eyes thinking 'we didn't ask for that,'" said Sonjanette Crossley, Lee's wife. "But God can give you favor with people without you having to run them down."
A community that will forever remember the fallen, while giving new life to others.
"I'm a humble man and I try to keep things simple, but man, to have the turnout that we had here was amazing," Cates said. "Again, I can't even express the thanks to the folks that showed up who are stepping up and helping us out with this project."
Cates said the Lee Crossley Veterans Community is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 2018.
Cates added that they need all the hands they can get to finish this project on time. He's urging members of the community to come forward and give back to those who have served.
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