NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 News) – A North Texas veteran, unable to work since he was injured by an IED in Iraq, received a key for the “American Dream” — a free house.
Kevin Bowden was a Sergeant in the Army. His job was to detonate IED’s.
“I detonated 36 of them. I was hit by one,” he said.
He said he was within 50 meters of every IED he detonated.
“Because I set them off,” he explained.
The IED that exploded beneath him in 2008 didn’t kill him because of a thick metal plate in the military vehicle he was riding in, called a Buffalo.
He kept the metal plate, which has a large hole in it. He calls it, “My one war trophy.”
Bowden was discharged from the Army in 2010. But he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008 and also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It’s been difficult for him to hold down a job. His wife, Andrea, has been taking classes to work in the veterinary medicine.
For the past year, their family of four has been staying with her parents in a house in McKinney. It’s a house with only three bedrooms.
Now, Bowden can show everyone the five-bedroom house he got in Forney – for free.
“I’m completely astonished it happened. Amazed. I’m speechless. Completely speechless,” he said.
The newly renovated home is worth $175,000.
It was donated from Bank of America through a national organization called the Military Warriors Support Foundation and their “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes,” program.
“Wow!” Kevin and Andrea said as they entered their new home.
The carpeting is new. The appliances were new. They now have more than enough room and a big back yard.
It was enough to bring Andrea Bowden to tears.
“They’re tears of joy,” she said. “I just know that there are other soldiers out there that are worse off than we are.”
Andrea said she is indebted.
“I can never repay this. Even though everybody says, ‘Oh, you’ve already paid your debt.’ But you know my husband was doing his duty to his country.”
The Bowden family can move in but they won’t receive the title to the home for three years, giving Kevin time to adjust to civilian life and civilian responsibilities.
“There is a transition period. They come home. Their families aren’t quite what they were before they left. Financially most of them are in ruins,” Military Warriors Support Foundation board member Paul Lavoie explained. “Their wife or their husband have been taking care of the home fires, so to speak, with less money than before they went into the military.”
Andrea said they had to move so much when they were in the military; they have no intention of moving now that they have their own home again.
“I feel very blessed. I feel very, very blessed,” she said.
The Military Warriors Support Foundation is looking for other deserving families.