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South Florida veteran gifted with mortgage-free town home

U.S. Army Sgt. Gerard Pierre Jr. injured in Afghanistan in 2006

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – U.S. Army Sgt. Gerard Pierre Jr. and his wife Magdalene were stunned Tuesday after receiving a mortgage-free home from Building Homes for Heroes and JPMorgan Chase. 

The couple currently rent an efficiency apartment, so they were thrilled as they toured the newly remodeled town house in southwest Miami-Dade.

"I am shocked, shocked, shocked! I can't believe it, actually," Pierre said.

Pierre was injured in Afghanistan in 2006 by an enemy rocket attack and since returning home, he has had to focus on his recovery.

Pierre suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic back pain and hearing loss, so the gift will make a big difference in his family's life.

"This is the one thing that they now don't have to worry about, mortgage payments (and) where are they going to get the money for that. They can continue to heal and recover from their injuries," James Rogers, of Building Homes for Heroes, said. 

The home has a newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms plus a new A/C unit.

A water feature on the patio was also installed to help calm the sergeant's nerves, but perhaps the greatest gift was the gesture itself.

"Coming back and seeing you guys, you understand? You have all these people and all this help. Mentally, this will help," Pierre said. 

Pierre also has a young son who will be surprised to see his new home after school on Tuesday.