Earlier this month many people expressed their thankfulness for veterans around the nation. This Thanksgiving, one veteran is especially thankful.
Anthony Burrow, 32, had a rough time growing up. As he, his mother and his sisters tried to escape their abusive father and husband, they stayed in a variety of shelters and homes — places that have all been torn down now.
When he was older, Burrow joined up, spending eight years in the Army and two in the Army Reserves, including a year in Iraq. He spent a lot of time in government housing.
The house they could afford, though, was a disaster. The issue was complicated because even as they worked to fix up the dilapidated home, their five children were at risk.
Rileigh, 15, Noah, 8, Mary Hannah, 6, Oliviah, 5, and Judah, 3, had to make the dangerous house their home. Floors sagged or rotted, and Noah stepped through the floor one day.
“He was laughing, freaking out and kind of scared,” Burrow told People. “It was overwhelming. Parts of the floor were caving in and rotted.”
Kara was concerned they’d made the wrong choice somewhere along the way, but sensed God telling them to just wait.
“I was frustrated because I felt like we weren’t providing somewhere safe for our kids, but we tried to be patient because every time we looked for a new house, building a house or even renting, it felt like God was telling us not to do that,” she said.
“For some reason, God was telling us to just stay put and be patient.”
And He provided — through the Kentucky Habitat for Humanity, a group that heard about the Burrows’ predicament. They razed the old deathtrap of a house and built a brand-new home with five bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The Burrows have been in their new digs since September, still saddled with $130,000 to pay off the house, but they were determined to chip away at it.
“We’re fully blessed, this is the best outcome I could imagine,” Anthony said. “My kids have a swing set, they have their own rooms, they’re not tripping in holes in the floor anymore.”
But more blessings were on the way — this time in the form of a full mortgage pay off, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation.
According to People, the generous gift was part of the foundation’s second annual Operation Surprise initiative, which is working to help veterans ease back into civilian life and to invest $500,000,000 in veteran causes by 2025.
Actress Drew Barrymore delivered the good news to Anthony and Kara on her talk show Wednesday.
“I was in shock,” Anthony said. “Like, how much more blessed can you get?”
“I could live anywhere, even a cardboard box. But to have a safe, comfortable house for my kids and wife means everything to me.”
Now not only does Anthony finally have a permanent place to call home after decades of wandering, but it’s clean, new, safe and completely paid off.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.