Staff Sgt. Patrick Rogers used to come to the rescue of others when he worked as an Army medic in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, a non-profit organization helping wounded veterans is helping Rogers to help pay him back for his service.
Rogers returned home with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after being injured by an explosion set off by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. The injuries made it difficult for him to work and support his wife and their three kids.
That’s when he got some help from Operation Finally Home, a non-profit that works with corporate sponsors, builders and developers to provide mortgage-free houses for wounded veterans, keeping their specific physical limitations and needs in mind.
“These houses are built around what the vet's going to need,” Rogers said. “In the future months, I will probably be in a wheelchair. I have to have some major surgeries. They build the houses to accommodate everything they could think of for the vets.”
Operation Finally Home was created in 2005 after founder and chief executive Dan Wallrath noticed specific needs of veterans were not being met.
"The needs were of these families across the nation. Unfortunately, they're not getting a whole lot of help. And they don't ask for it," Wallrath told TODAY for the latest installment of the "Hope to It" series. "I saw the need and decided to do something about it."
Sgt. Steven Jackel Jr., who lost his legs after his convoy rolled over an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, received a house through Operation Finally Home in 2014. He said the organization has helped make life immensely easier for his family.
"We face so many closed doors going through treatment, getting hope, losing hope," he said. "Operation Finally Home was more for my family and what me and my family were doing together.”
Rogers feels the same way as he and his family settle into their new Texas home.
"It is unbelievable what the people of Texas have done for me and my family. I cried like a little baby," he said. "Operation Finally Home, I don't know what else I could say about them. They made this possible."
Operation Finally Home will hold the dedication for its 100th home in just a few weeks. They also have 60 other projects in 31 states currently in the works.
Follow TODAY.com writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.