Community builds a home for a hero

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dozens gathered to welcome the Pearson family into a Panama City Beach neighborhood Saturday afternoon.

Building Homes for Heroes, is a non-profit organization that renovates one home every 10 days for those wounded veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The organization gives the mortgage free-homes to deserving veterans.

In this case, his name is U.S. Army Corporal, Stephen Pearson.

"They've done nothing but good for us," said Corporal Pearson. "It's a wonderful organization."

"He's going through struggles that we cant imagine as we sit home in our living room," said Andy Pojul, the founder and President of Building Homes for Heroes. "We hear the stories, we see the stories, we see the Veterans, but we don't know what they've gone through."

This United States Army Veteran has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2007, Pearson was in a helicopter accident but survived a punctured lung, traumatic brain injury, broken ribs and back; plus a fractured shoulder and clavicle. He continues to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder with his family by his side.

It's for that reason local construction company "Pons", interior designers, and multiple agencies have been working to prepare the home for Pearson and his family.

Saturday, they rallied together to pull of the surprise of a lifetime.

"It doesn't even look like the same house," said Corporal Pearson. "I'm floored, that's the part I'm having to take in because it doesn't even look like the same house."

The house will soon be turned into a home for the Pearson's. And NewsChannel 7 wanted to know what was Corporal Pearson's favorite part.

"Seeing my son run around the yard with the kids and the play ground," he said. " And seeing my wife's response when she saw the master bedroom, and bathroom and everything."

The crazy thing is, his son and wife are able to experience things like that, because of men like him who dedicate their lives for our freedom.

"We're not fooling around," said Pojul. "We're doing this right and how many of us in this country believe it should be done."