NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The town of Celina has come to the aid of a soldier who sustained horrifying burns but survived a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. The wounded veteran was even able to help break ground on the new home being built for him.
Six years ago Army Sergeant Brian Fleming lay on the ground, in Afghanistan, with the skin seared off part of his face and hands. Today those same hands helped break ground on a dream.
Fleming is tougher than he looks from a distance. He bears the scars of war after surviving not one but two suicide bombings.
The 26-year-old has had a documentary made about his experience and is forging a career as an advocate and motivator for other wounded veterans.
It’s that kind of passion that led the HelpingaHero.org Home Program to choose Fleming and his family to receive a new brand new house.
The honor is one Sgt. Fleming doesn’t take lightly.
“It feels a little bit weird just… I know guys who didn’t make it back home,” he said emotionally. “I don’t really feel worthy of this.”
For Fleming’s wife, Jamie, the gift doesn’t seem quite real.
“We’ve always dreamed of being in a big home like this but didn’t know how it would happen,” she said.
The new 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home will be specially customized to stay cool, since the explosion burned Fleming’s sweat glands and made his lungs sensitive to heat.
Unlike some other organizations that offer free homes to wounded vets, the HelpingaHero Program includes the recipient contributing a very low mortgage payment. Organizers say the input by military personnel is required because so many proud soldiers, like Fleming, prefer it that way.
“I’ve learned when somebody’s trying to do something for you, you let them do it because it blesses them.”
Fleming may be serious with his appreciation but for the most part he takes what happened to him lightly. He says that’s because to him, the past isn’t nearly as important as the future.
Fleming, now retired, isn’t letting his injuries keep him from building a new life in North Texas and even his Purple Heart license plate — that says “nice try” — rubs his determination in the face of the man who tried to kill him.