After Sgt. Andrew Harvel was killed in Afghanistan in August 2011, his widow hoped to move home from California to North Carolina to be surrounded by friends and family.
Yet two years later, she was still stuck in California.
That is until Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, N.C., invited Krista Harvel and her two children to a military appreciation ceremony this past Friday.
As hundreds gathered to honor America’s military heroes, an Army veteran parachute team descended from the sky and landed at the high school’s football field.
In the parachutists’ hands, an amazing gift: blueprints for Krista Harvel’s new home, fully paid for, in North Carolina.
Unbeknownst to Harvel, an organization called Operation Finally Home had been partnering with local builders and contractors to make her dream of moving home come true.
“This is our new beginning,” Harvel told the assembled crowd through her tears, “so thank you.”
Lee Kirgan with Operation Finally Home told Raleigh-Durham’s WTVD-TV how his organization works to put “lives back on track” for America’s military heroes and widows of the fallen.
“We identify the families,” Kirgan said, “then reach out to local builders and developers in the area where families need to live where they have got that family support system.”
“This is a community effort,” added Paula Nash, with the Association of Realtors. “This family was stationed here previously. They have paid their dues.”
Harvel was completely surprised by the honor and is thrilled to be returning home.
“The people here are like no other place,” she told WTVD-TV. “Thank you so much.”
“The message is ‘thank you’ from the bottom of our hearts,” Kirgan responded. “This is a small token of our appreciation.”
WTVD-TV reports the groundbreaking for the new Harvel family home happened the next day in Aberdeen, N.C., and contractors expect the house to be ready for the family to move in by March or April.