New Year, New House

Wounded San Antonio soldier saluted with ultimate New Year's surprise

Wounded San Antonio soldier saluted with ultimate New Year's surprise

Garrett Spears
The Spears family, including Garrett in the center, reacts to the news.  Photo courtesy of Operation Finally Home

While participating in combat training in October 2013, U.S. Army Lieutenant Garrett Spears was struck by lightning, stopping his heart and sending him into a coma. As a result of the strike, Spears suffered a traumatic brain injury, causing significant short-term memory loss, and rendering him unable to use his legs.

In the four years since his accident, the San Antonio native has regained some of his mobility thanks to arduous in-patient rehabilitation and the help of his family. 

In 2015, the Texas A&M grad was discharged from duty after receiving the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon. Then, on New Year's Eve, he received something else — a new house. 

During a live New Year's Eve broadcast on Fox News, Spears and his family were surprised by Dan Wallrath and Rusty Carroll of Operation Finally Home, a New Braunfels-based nonprofit that provides mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded or ill service members. 

"When we learned of your story through the Texas A&M community, we were touched by your service and sacrifice, but more by your perseverance and drive, which shines through with your family," Carroll said during the broadcast. 

Along with his mother and stepfather, Spears will receive with a one-story house in San Antonio, custom-built to adhere to the soldier's needs. "This will be totally amazing for his progress and his recovery," said Spears' mother, Laura.

According to a press release, the Spears family will move into their new home sometime this year.