SUNRISE, Fla. - Arthur Drago and his wife, Gloria, have been struggling ever since he was deployed to Iraq following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
While he was away, the economic downturn hit the family with three kids hard. They lost their executive placement firm and mergers and acquisitions business. Gloria Drago said it was in part because she didn't know enough about the acquisitions and mergers to run the business on her own while her husband was away in Iraq. They also almost lost their home.
Gloria Drago found work as an office manager for a restaurant but told Local 10 she was laid off in October. The couple has three children, ages 14, 15 and 24. Their 24-year-old recently left Florida State University and returned home because Gloria Drago said they just couldn't afford for her to finish her last year.
Joe Fava of Fava Design Group told Local 10 that several companies, such as Xtreme Custom Group, and individual donors from the design industry have come together to donate what is equivalent to $60,000 to make over the couple's Sunrise home. They created what he calls "a great room" to open up the space and bring the family together.
Fava believes this project, which was spearheaded by the Dania Beach Design District, is a great way for the community to help families who have made so many personal sacrifices for the country.
"I think the veterans sometimes get a raw deal when they come back from war," he said.
When they saw their new house for the first time Tuesday, the Dragos said they were "overwhelmed." For the Dragos, they said they received more than pretty furniture; they feel that it was a "thank you" from the community they have sacrificed so much to protect.
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