Weatherford Star-Telegram

Texas veteran, family move into donated home. ‘It’s amazing. I can’t put it into words’

Weatherford veteran grateful for home donated to family

"Very humbling experience to sit there and think they would do something like this to help out our veterans, female veterans at that."
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"Very humbling experience to sit there and think they would do something like this to help out our veterans, female veterans at that."

Charlotte Ferris and her family are finally home — thanks to Operation Finally Home.

Ferris, a U.S. Army specialist suffering from a variety of war injuries, was welcomed, along with her four children, into their new mortgage-free home in Weatherford on Friday morning. The event included many of her new neighbors, along with dignitaries, for the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony.

“It’s amazing. I can’t put it into words. It’s a very humbling experience,” Ferris, 35, said.

The 2,366-square foot home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large living room area, an open kitchen that allows a clear view of the living area, a fireplace, and hardwood floors. There is also a laundry room and a large fenced-in back yard.

Along with the master bedroom for herself, each of her children, 8-year-old twins Isaiah and Kayla, 13-year-old Allyssa and 14-year-old Ryla, will now have their own room. The family had been living with Charlotte’s mother in White Settlement, with the two older sisters sharing a room, and the twins living in the same room as their mother since 2010.

“I’m going to be searching down kids now,” she said with a laugh.

Another surprise for Ferris and her family, the home is fully furnished, complete with dishes in the kitchen and a washer and dryer.

Weatherford veteran Charlotte Ferris and her four children tour their new home, which was donated through Operation Finally Home. Ferris suffers daily from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a traumatic brain injury and post-concussion headaches.

“I did not know it was furnished,” she said in between tears. “That’s incredible. It’ll take me awhile to process.

“Ronnie (Lyles, Finally Home Project Manager) was telling me I should get a sleeping bag if we planned on staying here the first night. I just can’t believe this. There will be even more tears when the shock wears off.”

During her first tour of duty in Iraq from 2002-05, an improvised explosive device detonated beneath the armored truck Ferris was driving, rupturing her ear drum. She also broke her ankle, which required surgery, but remains permanently damaged.

Ferris was set to return to active duty in 2009, but was then deemed unable for medical reasons. She suffers daily from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a traumatic brain injury, post-concussion headaches, and more, leaving her unable to work.

She has numerous awards, including a Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.

“Thank you for being an America Hero,” U.S. Congressman Roger Williams, owner of Roger Williams Automall, said to her. “The Ferris family has given, and now it’s their turn to get back.”

Williams played a major role in the project, contacting his friend, Mearl McBee, founder of McBee Homes, who said 100 percent of his subcontractors and vendors participated in the charitable project. Marina Sears, of Heritage Real Estate, donated the lot.

This is the 156th home dedication for veterans through Finally Home since the organization was founded in 2005.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in November. In January, the community wrote notes of love on the studs of their home before they were wrapped in drywall.

“I want to thank you for what you did,” Sears, a widow, said to Ferris. “I remember what it was like when I raised four children.”

McBee said, “Wow, what a day, a magic day, right before Easter Sunday. Every step of building the home has been humbling and exciting.

“Charlotte, I can’t think of a better way to thank you for your service to our country. I hope you all have many happy memories behind these walls.”

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