An Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan received a new home from a Texas nonprofit in time for his 24th birthday.
The Texas Sentinels Foundation, which builds homes for wounded veterans across the state, broke ground on a home for Sgt. Justin Feagin and his family in September.
He, his wife and their son moved into the fully furnished and debt-free home in Melissa this week after donations from the Collin County Association of Realtors and other local organizations.
Feagin said his life changed forever in a split second in July 2010. He was badly injured by an improvised explosive device while leading an Afghan border police unit.
"I lost the lower part of my left leg," he said. "It severed my right femoral artery. It completely blew my right eardrum out."
Feagin also sustained deep wounds from shrapnel over much of his body. His left hand was injured to such an extent that doctors had to cut off his wedding band.
But he said the loss he feels most is that of his roommate, who was wounded in the same explosion and died.
"I think that was the worst part of it ... losing one of my brothers," he said.
Feagin said he was surprised by the generosity of strangers when he began his recovery and rehabilitation in San Antonio.
He and his wife were skeptical when the Texas Sentinels Foundation first offered them a home.
His wife, Kayla, said she wondered, "What's the catch?"
After a year and a half of struggles, home ownership brings a fresh start, they said.
"It's huge," Feagin. "If you think about it, that's something the majority of your money goes to, is your rent or your mortgage. That's something we don't have to worry about now."