Six days before he was supposed to go home, Sgt. Jackie Irving was injured in an explosion. He died six times that day, and was determined as 'Killed In Action'. Miraculously, he "took a deep breath and came back to life." His devastating injuries presented a long and hard road to recovery, with over 30 surgeries on the horizon. When Operation FINALLY HOME heard of Jackie's story, they teamed up with Southern Living to give the Irving family a safe, peaceful place for Jackie to recover – mortgage-free.
I called up on the radio as military aged males running from us. I seen some disturbment on the ground. And when I seen that, we came up on the fire. That's when I woke up in San Antonio. An explosion Was me. That big explosion right there, that was my explosion there. I just sat in the parking lot for maybe 10-20 minutes just crying, cuz I didn't know what is that. I died six times that day. First phone call she got, I was KIA. I'd already been dead for minutes, and They said I just took another deep breath. It just came back. [SOUND] Honestly it went down from there. Life started getting hard mentally and physically, stressful, PTSD, everything stopped powering up. Still I'm still working on that. Right now, I've been there. [LAUGH] I don't know if it was hell, but hell better be scared of me because I done been there. [LAUGH] Couldn't let my kids see that their dad has given up, so I fought. Before you know it, I was out of there. [MUSIC] We went to a radio station and I thought maybe it was just another thing, like it's always been; they just want to hear your story and that's it. And know it was something different. And we started talking and everything. We got to meet everybody and that's when he came up and said operation Find a Home, want to build you guys a home. I just wanted to cry because that was a big relief of trying to find a home. I don't want to cry here cuz [LAUGH] but I'd just like to say thank you. Thank you to everybody. [MUSIC] Thank you. [LAUGH] Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] On three. [LAUGH] Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] Welcome home, we're so excited for you. I don't know what to expect. All right. Irving family welcome home. Snap. Goodness What? My God. Wow. this is nice. I don't know men it was awesome. When I first walked in I was very shocked and joyful, cuz I started crying. I loved it. I love it. Everything that I was I was thinking it was going to be like, Everything blends off each other, everything feeds off each other. It's just like a smooth floor, relaxing area now. And it actually makes me feel like I am home now. they made longer cabinets for me, instead of so many different single Cabinets that you would have had to reach higher just to open up one. I could reach lower to open up a board and it would still be to reach whatever I need to reach. Helps me from not having to use so much force on toward the end of the area is.>> [LAUGH] I really appreciate this. This is very nice so. Takes a big burden off the families when they do something like this to help the veterans. Coming out to the civilian world is completely different from the service side, it's completely different. This will free up a lot of time now for me to be more into the church, and more into these other extra activities. Use that you have. So instead of having to worry so much about how we gonna do it, where we gonna get the money from, [UNKNOWN] the bills are paid and everything like that. This is definitely financially and mental emotional, satisfaction Soon, and it was a blessing. And I think Operation Finally Home and Southern living, all for the help that they have provided here. [MUSIC] [LAUGH] [MUSIC]