April 02, 2019

Veteran’s family surprised with mortgage-free home in Babcock Ranch

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Reporter: John-Carlos Estrada

Published: March 29, 2019 10:09 PM EDT

A veteran who has PTSD is moving to Babcock Ranch with his wife and their children. It was a hometown heroes’ welcome. It was a total shock for the family of six.

The Appleby family’s move to Babcock Ranch was made possible thanks to veterans group Operation Finally Home and construction company PulteGroup.

“When we turned around the corner, my wife said, “Babe, your name, your name is on the wall,’” said Sgt. Howard Appleby of the U.S. Army. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I was in shock.”

The Appleby family got a chance to break ground and walk around the layout of their mortgage-free, custom home Friday.

“This shows how involved the community is and how much the community cares about supporting our veterans,” said, Richard McCormick, division president of PulteGroup in Southwest Florida.

The Appleby family will join others now living at Babcock Ranch, touted as America’s most sustainable town.

“It’s different, and it’s going to be more of a neighborhood feel,” Yoland Appleby said. “And it’s going to be more relaxing for us and the kids. We can say hello to our neighbors and close proximity to schools.”

A fit that will help the Appleby, a decorated veteran dealing with combat brain injuries and PTSD from IED blasts in Afghanistan. It will be a place to retire in peace surrounded by his family.

“This is a city built for the future,” McCormick said. “I think that it’s an incredible fit that we could build a home here at Babcock Ranch.”

The Appleby’s home will be ready in June just in time for their children to start school in the fall.

“My family comes first and my health,” Appleby said. “Now I can more think about my health and get back to a better life. Life is not a race but a journey. And in life, you gotta search, and we’ve been searching, and we’re finally home.”

Reporter: John-Carlos Estrada