NOCATEE, Fla. – For neighbors in the Del Webb neighborhood in St. Johns County’s Nocatee community, Wednesday morning brought a welcome wagon like no other. A parade of golf carts led the way through Country Brook Avenue. In the last golf cart, sat a humble hero and his family. For Purple Heart veteran, Jerry Majetich, it marked the start of a dream becoming a reality.
“I don’t deserve this,” Majetich said. “I just did a job that I loved and believed in. It’s just overwhelming.”
Thanks to a partnership through PulteGroup’s “Built to Honor” program and the non-profit veteran support organization, Building Homes for Heroes, the Majetichs are building their new home-- mortgage free. Following the welcome parade, a special groundbreaking was held. Neighbors throughout the community were there to mark the occasion and meet their future neighbors.
Retired Staff Sergeant Jerry Majetich burned over a third of his body after the vehicle he was in was hit by an IED in Iraq. The injuries included burns to his face and scalp, the loss of his ears and nose, right hand and fingers on his left hand to amputation, the removal of part of his intestines and stomach, a fractured spine, and fractured left foot. That’s not all.
“I had been shot four times,” Majetich said. “I was shot once in the right shoulder, 3 times in the right.”
Majetich spent the next 22 months in and out of the hospital, and has had more than 80 surgeries. Majetich’s wife, Mary-Ella, says she’s relieved the home will be modified in a way that addresses her husband’s needs.
“We knew that we needed adaptations for our home,” Mary-Ella Majetich said. “I think for us, the biggest thing is we knew that we could keep pulling forward and helping others who’ve been in similar situations.”
As the Majetichs found out, they’re in good company. Their new neighbor, Retired Navy Commander Michael Dionian, made the welcome official.
“Jerry and Mary-Ella, on behalf of Del Webb community, we’re so happy to welcome you home,” Dionian said before the crowd of neighbors.
According to Dionian, the neighborhood is filled with veterans.
“Anybody that serves in combat has injuries that you can’t see as well,” Dionian said. “Jerry will have somebody he can relate to.”
Knowing the challenges that come with combat, Majetich has a message for other veterans going through what he’s been through.
“Keep going forward, tomorrow is another day, always,” Majetich said. “Might have a bad day, but I try to live by the words, every day is a good day.”
A good day made perfect, for a man who gave so much. This is just the first step in the building process. The builder says the plan is for the family to move in sometime during the Fall.
Launched in 2013, PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program has awarded more than 60 mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families across the country.