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Veteran receives mortgage free home

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A former Fort Sill soldier who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq received the surprise of a lifetime this weekend at the Lawton Rangers Rodeo.

Tomas Garcia Jr. and his family found out they're getting a new, mortgage-free, custom-built home, courtesy of Operation Finally Home, Hawkins Custom Homes and City National Bank. Operation Finally Home is a non-profit organization that helps provide homes to ill or injured veterans. Garcia was deployed to Iraq in 2006 out of Fort Sill when his unit was ambushed, and he was hit in the head with a bullet that fractured his skull. He was discharged in 2007 after he continued suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

While in Iraq in 2006, Garcia and a fellow soldier were driving a convoy when they were both shot in the head by the same bullet. They crashed and the others inside the convoy left, but later came back for them. Garcia says he didn't even know he was shot, until after he helped the driver.

"God was with us that night and he's still here, said Garcia.

He was discharged from the military in 2007 after suffering from multiple injuries, sleep deprivation and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Garcia says he stays strong for his family, but because of his new mortgage free home, he feels his symptoms will get a little bit better.

"I know I'm going to sleep better at night. It's just going to be life changing, said Garcia.

Garcia says he keeps himself busy and finds ways to take his mind off of the everyday issues such as knee pain and anxiety.

"I fight through it. I find things. I hunt and I fish. I spend a lot of the time with the kids outdoors, said Garcia.

Because of his bravery, he has received many service awards including a Purple Heart. Garcia says his experiences while serving his country and being away from his family makes him cherish every bit of time he gets with them. Now, he's looking forward to the new memories they will make inside this home.

"We're very family oriented. We're always have family. We're either at their house or their at our house. Some place just to hangout and be,” said Garcia.

Garcia says he believes his work isn't finished yet. He's an instructor for the Army and is very involved in the veteran community to help families. As for his new home, Garcia says the words thank you, simply aren't enough to show how appreciative his family is.

"There are people out there that really care and love and really support their citizens here. I don't know how I would express that love back to them, but my family and I really do appreciate it,” said Garcia.

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