When his parachute failed, Army Sgt. Hutcheson fell more than 70 feet, ending his military career. Now he’s fallen in love with his new home.
All U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Hutcheson ever wanted was to provide a safe, permanent home for his family. For many years, Matthew and his wife, Leslie, had to worry about the rent or where they would have to uproot their family next, which put a strain on their health and happiness.
After serving our country for almost 13 years, Matthew’s final injury occurred while he was participating in an airborne operation. At 70 feet above ground, Hutcheson’s parachute lost its canopy, forcing him to hit the ground hard when he landed.
He eventually was diagnosed with PTSD, TBI and a host of issues with his back. Hutcheson medically retired on September 5, 2007. Thanks to national nonprofit Operation FINALLY HOME, along with builder Portico Properties, the Hutcheson family will never need to worry about rent or a disruptive move again. On January 29, 2016, they became the proud owners of a custom-built, mortgage-free home in Ball Ground, Georgia.
“Our lives were forever changed that day,” Leslie explains. “There’s a sense of calmness over all of us, even the kids. Matthew’s anxiety level is so much lower because he has finally been able to provide a home for his family.”
Since the stress of finding housing has been lifted off his shoulders, Matthew has been able to focus on one of his long-term goals: becoming a nurse. He’s enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Georgia, and will start classes in January 2017.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to go to college, and I feel like I’m finally ready to tackle this goal,” explains Matthew.
The Hutcheson family is also grateful for their new community, which has been a huge source of support.
“We’ve known since the day we moved to Ball Ground that the people here were amazing, but this experience has brought out so much more,” Leslie says. “People are always offering help — whether it be around the house, with the kids or even just someone to talk to.”
Thanks to a partnership with JCPenney, a group of volunteers furnished the home the night before the dedication ceremony for the Hutcheson family.
“The moment we walked into the house was a mix of every emotion you could think of,” recalls Matthew. “It was crazy to think that this was all ours and that these people did this for us.”
To the donors and partners of Operation FINALLY HOME, Matthew says, thank you. “To have people who will probably never know us donate their materials and time was a very humbling feeling. This was something we never in a million years would have expected to happen to us. Your donations don’t go unnoticed, and we are forever grateful to you.”
This is the final installment of our “Hero House” series. We hope you’ve been inspired by the stories of courage and resilience these brave veterans have shared throughout the past year. It’s been our honor to tell them. Though the series is concluding, the initiative will not. Please help our nation’s wounded heroes by donating to Operation FINALLY HOME. Every cent goes directly to helping a veteran and his/her family get back on their feet with a mortgage-free house. From everyone at Log Home Living, thank you. OperationFINALLYHOME.org/LogHome