U.S. Army Specialist Phillip Martin has called Mesa home for much of his life. Now after returning from service in Afghanistan, Martin will have a new home – literally – thanks to Pulte Homes and Operation Finally Home.
Tribune video: Pulte donate's home to Mesa Army vet
Martin was chosen as the recipient of a new mortgage-free home inside the Desert Oasis community in Surprise. The Dobson High School alum surely was surprised when he heard the news during an on-field ceremony at Dobson’s varsity football game Friday night against Mesa High School.
“I think someone needs to pinch me right now, I can’t even believe it,” said an emotional Martin. “I don’t even know what to feel right now. I am in shock.”
Martin, along with his wife Audrey and their 11-month-old daughter, Eden, applied for the new home through Operation Finally Home, an organization that provides mortgage-free homes to disabled veterans to help get their lives back on track.
Martin said he joined the service in 2007 at the age of 18 after being inspired by the events of 9/11. He served in Afghanistan, but was injured on two separate occasions when improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated, required several surgeries. During his recovery at the Wounded Warrior Brigade in Texas, Martin was among the first responders to the Fort Hood shootings.
“In Phillip’s case, he came back and had to deal with not just the physical but the emotional wounds,” said Daniel Vargas, a representative from Operation Finally Home. “After talking to his case manager, we really felt that he fit our program, which helps veterans on the road to recovery and helps them get back to their lives.”
Martin said he suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving and has to go through psychotherapy regularly as well.
“It is really hard for me to keep a job with my P.T.S.D. and my brain injury,” Martin said. “I’m volunteering my time right now, trying to give back as much as I can. I do fire training, as well as motivational speaking.”
Because of his injuries, the only requests Martin has for his new home are for no stairs and for the lights to be somewhat dimmed; he regularly suffers from migraine headaches.
“You have a gentleman that obviously did a lot to serve our country and now there is a burden lifted off his shoulders,” said Joshua Clark, a representative from Polte Homes. “This is something our corporate office has done in other divisions. As we looked at the opportunity locally, it was a good opportunity to be a positive force in the community.”
Martin and his wife Audrey were brought to tears on the Dobson track. After years serving his country abroad, Martin and his family now have a home to call their own.
“This allows our family to grow and flourish,” Martin said. “I don’t know how to thank Pulte Homes, I will thank them by living a great life in the house they built for us.”