Texas A&M Graduate, Wounded Veteran Surprised With A Home On National Television

By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Marketing & Communications

A Texas A&M University graduate and U.S. Army veteran received a life-changing surprise on national television on New Year’s Eve.

Lt. Garrett Spears, a class of 2011 graduate who was seriously injured after being struck by lightning during combat training in 2013, was given a custom-made, mortgage-free home by Operation FINALLY HOME in San Antonio on Fox News Channel’s All-American New Year broadcast.

“When we learned of your story through the Texas A&M community, we were touched by your service and sacrifice but more so by your perseverance and drive that shines through you and your family, which can be attributed to your remarkable recovery,” Operation FINALLY HOME Executive Director Rusty Carroll said during the broadcast.

Spears’ mother Laura Spears said her son was in a coma after the strike and had to re-learn how to walk. Even though his mobility has improved from using a wheelchair to walking with a walker, accessibility in his family’s home has been difficult.

“This will be totally amazing for his progress and recovery,” Laura Spears said. “He can do things himself because of this.”

When asked by the broadcast’s host how he felt about his new home, Spears replied with a wide smile, “Great.”

Carroll told Texas A&M Today this week that the Spears family’s love for Garrett Spears’ alma mater was abundantly clear.

“We learned of Garrett through one of his case managers, but as we got to learn more about Garrett, you could tell they were entrenched in the Texas A&M community,” Carroll said. “Everybody we visited with showed his love and enthusiasm for Texas A&M.”

Established in 2005, Operation FINALLY HOME has provided more than 200 custom-built, mortgage-free homes in more than 30 states for “America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen, those who have worn America’s uniform and sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and values.”

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Media contact: Sam Peshek, 979-845-4680, sam.peshek@tamu.edu


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