The Coffeys are high school sweethearts. Melanie and Ray, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, share a love that has lasted two decades. Staff Sgt. Coffey spent 17 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and, in 2004, he experienced the unimaginable while deployed to Iraq. After enduring devastating injuries, he returned home to undergo countless operations and surgeries. To honor Staff Sgt. Coffey’s sacrifices for our country and for our freedom, Operation Finally Home stepped in to build a brand-new, mortgage-free home for the Coffey family in Texas. Watch as the Coffeys explore their new home, a bright and beautiful place for them to be together as a family. Southern Living is proud to partner with Operation Family Home. To help this great organization continue their work of honoring our veterans, like Staff Sgt. Coffey, consider making a donation today. To donate, please visit operationfinallyhome.org/buildinghope or text BuildingHope to 41444. Thank you for your service, Staff Sgt. Coffey.
[MUSIC] Ray and I have been together over 20 years. We were high school sweethearts. I spent 17 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was a staffing CO when I left. [MUSIC] We were checking some vehicles, making sure everything was good to go before we went into Baghdad. [MUSIC] And I had a moment. And I had this sat phone, so I gave [UNKNOWN] a call. I just had a very ominous feeling, and we ended up having to get off very abruptly. And I didn't learn until later that they had been taking enemy fire. There had been an IED [MUSIC] A couple of the guys including Ray were injured. They were medevaced. [MUSIC] Upon his return we did not. Know the degree of his injuries because he was exposed to several IEDs, close range fire, grenade blast. 16 face surgeries, two knee surgeries. He had had four surgeries on his spine. Blind in one, I hardly have any feelings below my knees. His spine surgeon. He had the spine of an 80 year old man, and he has hearing loss. His jaw, his upper and lower jaw those are all titanium, and he has a mouth full of implants. We were on a vacation to Florida, and we had to cut it short to come to A Round Rock Express game because he was being honored. We were told they're gonna come interview us during one of the innings, and the camera crew came over and then slowly more people started to come. And Ray is asking me who's here? like there's someone famous around here. We looked on the screen and there were people behind us holding up the picture of a house. We were all in shock like wait, wait, what? Staff Sergeant Coffee we have a very special announcement for you. We want you to know earlier today you were selected by operation finally home To receive a custom mortgage free home built by Henley Homes up in Georgetown just right up the road. It's just an emotional rollercoaster. They just kept thinking about all the things that were gonna change. And they were so overwhelmingly Thankful and so happy and there was lots and lots of crying on both ends. I saw a tear from my dad's eye, I swear. It was there. Well guess where -, welcome you all here. We want to get you inside and show you all the things that have been done. Welcome home, here it is. Wow. Wow [MUSIC] Wow. [MUSIC] We kept your sofa saved. Your favorite. We gave you a little recliner. Yeah. It's perfect. When we walked in it was a complete shock to see the entire main living space transformed. [MUSIC] Dude, this is so cool. Wait different from when it was before. Way better. It just feels so much better. A lot brighter, a lot more calming. To this day We drive into the driveway. His face lights up. This house was definitely a game changer. He's working to be a better person himself, to take care of himself. And so that's making all of us. Hopeful that we can get back to where we were and be a family again. Thank you, guys. Thank you doesn't really- All of us, I think, appreciate what you've done for the house. And I just wanna say thank you. I love you. [MUSIC]