Builder surprises wounded Marine with free home


USMC Corporal Joshua Lopez and his family.

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SAN MARCOS, Calif.- Veterans Day may be Tuesday, but a wounded war veteran in San Marcos celebrated early with keys to a free custom home.

Crowds of people lined the streets of the Santa Fe Hills neighborhood Saturday to welcome a local hero. Instead of arriving with moving trucks- he gets a street parade complete with girl scouts, fire trucks and a motor brigade.

USMC Corporal Joshua Lopez was severely injured in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED in 2012. Both of his legs were hurt, the right one has been amputated and his right hand was also wounded in the blast.

For the past two years, the family has been practically living at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, until now.

The non-profit organization Building Homes for Heroes helped give the Lopez family keys to a mortgage-free home in San Marcos.

“For me, after 9-11, we are all one family. They’re a son and daughter for all of us. They served our country after 9-11 and now we serve our country for them,” said Andy Pujol, founder of Building Homes for Heroes.

The house is equipped with more than $200,000 worth of upgrades customized to fit his special needs. One feature brought tears to his Lopez’s eyes.

“I have tinnitus in both of my ears, so he sound of the waterfall is going to help out a lot more,” said Lopez.

Lopez said words will never repay what the Building Homes for Heroes organization and its thousands of volunteers have done for him and his family.

“I’m in a wheelchair most of the time, so being able to have functionality of my home is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “We could thank you all day long, every day for the rest of our lives and it still wouldn’t be enough.”

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