Austin veteran surprised with new, mortgage-free home

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Veterans Day has always been special to Sgt. Chris Powell.

“Remembering those that gave me the chance to do the things I’ve done in my life,” he said.

This year, it was community members remembering him. Powell attended a ceremony Tuesday honoring those who served and was then invited to throw out the first pitch at a Longhorns softball game. It was at the morning ceremony Powell was surprised with a new, mortgage-free home.

“I thought I was just invited up there as part of the celebration. I didn’t know I was the celebration,” he said.

Powell’s strike over home plate capped off a day in which he was given a new home base.

“At first I thought ‘wow, that just made my whole week easier!’ Then I realized, ‘no, that just made my whole life easier.'”

Powell had been looking for a house in Austin, but finding a home that meets his needs isn’t easy.

“Things aren’t always set for somebody in a wheelchair,” he said. “So, how much money do I have to put into a house and then lose value on the house because I have to change it set for me?”

His new home won’t be ready until next year, but once he moves in, he’ll be just down the road from the University of Texas — where he will soon attend graduate school.

“It’s a lot closer than where I live right now, so, I’m looking forward to that,” he said with a smile.

The Veterans Day surprise was made possible by veterans support organizations Operation Finally Home and Built to Honor.

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