Posted at: 06/04/2013 6:36 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Today in Albuquerque an Army Veteran was given a different kind of welcome home. It came with a set of keys he never thought he'd be able to hold.
Welcome home retired Army Sgt. Christopher Smith. This house in northwest Albuquerque is where the Smith's and their dog, Penelope, will call home from now on. It's a long way from rolling through the streets of Baghdad in a tank, but today takes Smith right back there.
"I think of all my buddies that gave up their life for something. I don't really like to talk about it, so I don't," he said.
Smith suffers from PTSD and nightmares, scars that no one can see from the outside.
"I went to Iraq. I lost quite a few friends over there. I wish I didn't,” he said. “I wish those people were still alive."
The mortgage free gift from Operation Homefront and Wells Fargo Bank means financial security and fewer worries for Smith and his wife, Cara. Peace of mind is one of the main missions of Operation Homefront.
Sarah Groom with Operation Homefront said the house is a part of that sense of security the organization provides for veterans.
"They know that now they have a permanent, stable roof over their heads and that it's going to be within their means to be able to sustain themselves financially, because it is mortgage free."
It's a dream come true for Smith, but he said he would trade that dream if he could bring his buddies back.
"Yes, in a heartbeat I would."
If you know a vet who you think might be eligible or want to know more about Operation Homefront, click here to visit their website.