Army veteran receives mortgage-free home in Kissimmee

'This home is going to mean a new beginning,' Iraq veteran says

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – One veteran and her family are calling Osceola County home after receiving a house mortgage free on Wednesday through the Building Homes For Heroes program. 

"This is so amazing," said Gerri Burch-Mack, who served as an Army specialist in Iraq. "You have no idea. I dreamed about this every night since they called me." 

The program assists veterans who served and are dealing with emotional and physical challenges since they returned home.

"We give to wounded veterans who have served post 9/11," said operations manager Kim Valdyke. "They can't own a home and (mus be) at least 80 percent service disabled (to qualify)."

Burch-Mack's friend Leticha Patterson said she can't think of someone more deserving of the donation.

"Gerri is a very giving person," Patterson said. "She would give the shirt off her back, and for her to receive this home, it's like the most amazing feeling." 

Burch-Mack admits she shouldn't be here today after she thought she was going to die when an explosion wedged her between her truck and a brick wall while serving in Iraq. 

"My sacrifice and hard work paid off, even though in the beginning, I was thinking that I didn't," she explained. "It just means so much to me and my daughter."

Burch-Mack still deals with seizures and nightmares from her time serving, but with this home, the Army veteran is looking forward to wherever life takes her. 

"This home is going to mean a new beginning, bigger better things and a happier, more secure life for my daughter and I," she said. 

The Building Homes for Heroes program plans on giving out another home in the Kissimmee area next week, and a handful more throughout Central Florida the rest of the year.

You can learn more about the program here

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