Khris DeCapua could hardly believe his eyes when he turned the key to walk into his family’s new home on Friday.
Through Operation: Coming Home, Lennar homes and more than 60 vendors, DeCapua and his wife, Megan, and 1-year-old daughter Abigail were presented the keys of a new furnished home in the Waterside at the Catawba community.
The keys were delivered by a member of the all-Veterans Parachute team who jumped from a helicopter. A special military flyover kicked off the festivities and community members helped make it all possible showing their support for DeCapua, a retired Marine who had been injured in duty.
DeCapua served one tour of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. In Iraq, a vehicle he was riding in was attacked by insurgents, injuring 20 men including DeCapua. He also was injured when a vehicle he was riding in drove over a bomb, splitting the axel in two pieces.
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The injuries have left him with a traumatic brain injury, massive migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder, while forcing him to retire from the military.
DeCapua was chosen by Operation: Coming Home as their 14th new home recipient, marking the third time they’ve partnered with Lennar who paid for the land and teamed with vendors to pay for all of the furnishings.
“When I walked through the door I was blown away by the amount of stuff done on the inside,” DeCapua said. “The attention to detail they had with the paint and pictures they hung on the wall and especially with my daughter Abigail’s room. It’s enough to get a house that would be empty, but you come in this house and it means a lot.
“It finally hit me this morning when I was signing papers that this is actually happening.”
With more than 100 vendors and supporters in attendance, the DeCapuas said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. But U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., said this is just the beginning for a family moving into their new community.
“You are more than a homeowner, you are a part of this community and the support you see here today doesn’t end today,” said Mulvaney of Indian Land. “You are moving into this community, and you have the backing of all of these men and women here today. So when we all leave today and you and your family are alone inside, remember that we are all supporting you and you are not alone.”
Tim Minton, of Operation: Coming Home, said he was happy to choose the DeCapua family for his organization’s new home recipient, and said he hopes it can help have a positive impact for a family that has been through so much.
“When our veterans come home, they may leave the battlefield, but the battlefield doesn’t leave them,” said Minton, who also read a personalized letter from former President George W. Bush during the ceremony. “They keep it for the rest of their lives. So what we wanted to do is make sure the one thing he didn’t have to worry about is where this family is laying their head tonight and if we can do that than we’ve done our job.”
DeCapua said he especially likes the custom-made shadow box that hangs in the garage and displays his uniform from the waste up. But he said the fact that so much of the community came to support him and his family is what meant the most to him.
“It made me want to tear up when I saw my wife’s face and her start to tear up,” DeCapua said. “It’s an emotional time, but a great time.
“I don’t know 90 percent of the people that are here, but that makes me feel very happy and grateful. I never looked at anything I did overseas as being rewarded. So when I saw all of the people out there that don’t know me, it’s overwhelming, but it’s something I’m very grateful for.”