PALM BAY, Fla. - It was a hero's welcome Friday as dozens lined Crosspoint Street in Palm Bay awaiting their newest neighbors, wounded soldier Sgt. Justin Burdette and his family.
After being escorted by a motorcade of police and veterans, the family stepped out of their limousine, and for the first time saw their newly refurbished home.
Sgt. Burdette's 4-year-old son Corey led the ribbon cutting ceremony with Palm Bay's mayor William Copote.
The family was all smiles Friday as they walked into their new home, but the last year has been tough.
"I've only been up and walking for about two months. I'm doing pretty good now," said Sgt. Burdette.
In June of 2013, while protecting a convoy in Afghanistan, Sgt. Burdette was critically wounded during a rocket attack in which he lost both legs below the knees. He's currently undergoing rehab at a military medical center in Washington D.C., but being a double amputee isn't going to stop him from continuing to serve in the military.
The Purple Heart recipient has aspirations of becoming a drill sergeant.
"I know it's a hard life being a drill sergeant, but it's worth it," he said. "Helping the new guys come up through the ranks, getting them trained and everything is something I want to do."
The 1,900 square-foot home was renovated in order to meet Sgt. Burdette's needs. It was refurbished mostly through volunteer work and donated materials that the City of Palm Bay and Space Coast Paratroopers Association gave to the family.
"We don't know what the future holds, but we have a house and that's just a good starting point," said Sgt. Burdette's wife Beth. "Being debt free is the most amazing feeling, let me tell you."
The Burdette's home is just first of many the City of Palm and Space Coast Paratroopers will be donating to disabled veterans. They says it's the least they can do for everything they've sacrificed for our country.
"I love it. We're grateful for everything," said Sgt. Burdette.
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