Lehigh Acres Army vet surprised with new home

Published: June 30, 2021 5:13 PM EDT
Updated: July 1, 2021 6:20 PM EDT

An injured veteran had a life-changing moment when she was given a home – mortgage-free.

Army PFC Angela Hatfield took her first steps inside her new Lehigh Acres home on Wednesday alongside her family. She has survived so much but said she doesn’t deserve this gift.

Life is full of surprises, and Hatfield believes life is full of things we cannot control.

“There’s nothing like the experience that most of us had during the military,” she said.

She experienced the good and the truly awful, and in thanks for her time in uniform, Building Homes for Heroes designed a home for her and her family.

“It’s good to see that people care about us and appreciate what we’ve done for our country.”

In 2006, Hatfield suffered a traumatic brain injury. During a jump, her parachute malfunctioned and she slammed her head on the group. She now lives with a permanent speech disability. Despite that, the vet said she doesn’t feel deserving of all the goodwill.

“Everyone from Homes for Heroes has been amazing.”

Rusty Smallwood with Building Homes for Heroes proudly presented the home to Hatfield, her husband and their two children.

“They really didn’t believe they deserved it. They think people who are more severely injured deserve it,” he said.

“Just because she isn’t as severe as maybe the next person, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve it. She deserves this home just as much as anybody.”

It was an emotional day for the family.

“I don’t have the words to explain how thankful I am,” said Brandon Hatfield, Angela’s husband.

It was a hopeful day for the organization that made it happen.

“This is the most fun part of our job. We manage the construction, the renovations…but when you’re helping a veteran and putting them in a forever home, it’s just amazing,” Smallwood said.

Some of the family’s friends joined them to celebrate their new home, and some of their new neighbors even stopped by to welcome them home.