Displaced veteran gets new home for holidays thanks to local family

Air Force vet gets new apartment after accidental fire at Fort Lauderdale home

A veteran who lost his home during a fire got a much-needed helping hand.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Just in time for Christmas, a displaced veteran is moving into his new home.

It's all thanks to the help of five young siblings.

Its 76-year-old Alton Spratley’s first time seeing his apartment complete with a Christmas tree, decorations and presents, something he hasn’t had in so long, he’s out of practice.

"Do I have to tear them up?" Spratley asked.

The apartment on southwest 44th Avenue is on the same street as the house he lived in for decades, which is now uninhabitable after a mishap last month cooking a bag of popcorn.

"I put it in a large microwave and it caught fire," Spratley said.

With no insurance, no family and nowhere to go, the Air Force veteran was forced to sleep in his vehicle in front of his gutted home until the Santos siblings saw his story on TV.

Using their twitter account, they rallied the community to donate.

"They served for us, so the least we can do is serve for them," said Giani Santos with Kids Helping Our Veterans.

"We got a motel for two weeks and now we got an apartment for him to sleep," added Percy Santos.

With the help of others, they raised thousands of dollars, enough money to pay for a new bed, TV, clothes and hygiene products, many of which were delivered Saturday.

"It was really fun to finally see him have his new things that were burned down," Giani said.

One organization even donated money to pay for first and last month’s rent, and the security deposit.

“Kids have been helping me a lot and I appreciate that,” Spratley said.