JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Wounded veterans sacrifice their bodies and minds for the good of this country, and one foundation has made it its mission to give back.
For four years, Military Warriors Support Foundation has awarded mortgage-free homes to service members injured during combat while serving their country.
The Ellsberry family won a home in December 2012 from the foundation, and now another home in Jacksonville is available to a wounded warrior.
"They announced they were giving us the house, and it was emotional and it was crazy and it was wonderful," said Tasha Ellsberry, the wife of retired Army Staff Sgt. Steven Ellsberry.
"This was real. I was very surprised, I was," Steven Ellsberry said. "I cried. I didn't know what to do."
It was the relief the Ellsberrys needed. At the time they were living in a two-bedroom home on the Northside with their three children.
"No job, no money, no house. It's scary," Tasha Ellsberry said.
"Trying to figure out how to take care of three kids and a wife, it was very hard," Steven Ellsberry said.
But on July 22, 2006, nearly eight years ago, the family's lives changed forever.
"We got hit by an EFP copper plate and we lived. Seven people didn't," Steven Ellsberry said.
Ellsberry struggles with physical and psychological injuries from battling firefights and explosions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's why he and his family were eligible for the home giveaway.
"Steven and I just bawled because it was a dream come true," Tasha Ellsberry said. "You really lose everything when they have to be medically retired."
Now there's a chance for another local veteran to win a home.
The homes the foundation is giving away are for families who have severe and/or unique circumstances due to their injuries received while serving their country. In addition to the home, the families receive three years of family and financial mentoring.
The home up for grabs is on the Westside. It's a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story single-family home.
For the Ellsberry family, winning their home was a blessing that turned things around for them.
"It's changed my life. It's changed our kids lives," Steven Ellsberry said.
There is also an available home in Brunswick, Ga. If you are interested in applying for a home, go to www.militarywarriors.org/openhomes.
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