Local vet receives mortgage-free home
Veteran Adel Brito was adamant as he walked outside to the patio of his new home.
“No waterworks,” he said.
Moments later, however, when he saw his father, he gave him a great big hug. Well, so much for promises.
Brito, a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, had every reason to let loose those tears of joy. The veteran was gifted a mortgage-free home in Cape Coral on Thursday, courtesy of Building Homes for Heroes, and customized to fit his many needs.
It was the first time he had seen the home, and he was all smiles as he drove up to the applause of friends, family and some local dignitaries.
“I feel good. This is overwhelming. It’s like nothing I’ve ever received before,” Brito said. “It’s a tremendous gift and an honor to be a part of Building Homes for Heroes. It’s a great blessing.”
Following a brief ceremony and a few photo ops, Brito got to see the inside of the house for the first time, and immediately went for the kitchen, surprised there was actually food in the house.
While checking out the master bedroom, someone brought up the pool.
“There’s a pool?” Brito said with excitement as he ran out like a kid to see the shimmering water out on the lanai.
As a first-generation American to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Brito felt it was his duty to serve his country following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Brito became a member of the Green Berets, which exposed him to many injuries throughout his career, including plantar fasciitis, a cracked tibia, broken jaw and ribs, PTSD, several concussions and more. For his honorable service, Brito has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and other honors.
Brito said he had a friend, who was 100 percent disabled, who was gifted a home, and told him about the program.
“We went through the process and a year later, here I am. I never thought they would choose me, but I’m happy they did,” Brito said, who got the news last week while buying dog food.
Brito, who is serving as the caretaker for his grandmother, said he plans to bring her in and live with him.
Kim Valdyke, the southeast region construction and operations manager for Building Homes for Heroes, said the home has been fitted for his needs.
“We have grab bars in the bathroom for his stability issues. We’ve also put in blue and other calming colors for his PTSD, and the pool will help as well,” Valdyke said. “It warms my heart to know we’re putting a veteran in a safe place so he never has to worry about where he or his family will be ever again.”
The house was donated by Chase Bank, which gives foreclosed homes to Building Homes for Heroes so they can remodel and renovate them for the veteran’s needs.
Local partners, such as Conditioned Air, also lent their expertise to the project by installing the air conditioning.
“Personally, it’s about supporting people who supported us for our country,” said Tim Dupree, president and COO of the Conditioned Air. “As a company, we believe in supporting the area that provides us support and giving back.”
Building Homes for Heroes was started in 2006 to help those veterans who served and were injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have built 122 homes since its inception, including as many as 36 this year, three of which will be in Florida.
For more information, go to www.buildinghomesforheroes.org