CEDAR HILL (CBS 11 NEWS) – As he drove up to the Cedar Hill neighborhood, Marine Sergeant Ken Kalish had no idea the welcome that awaited him.  As cameras rolled and crowds of kids asked for autographs, reality settled in.  A home in the Sanctuary at Lake Ridge Community of Cedar Hill would soon be his… mortgage-free for life.

“I came here thinking I was going to do an interview, explained the 24-year-old Marine Sergeant. “I came over the hill and saw everybody here. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I don’t normally get emotional, but I got emotional today.”

Marine Sgt. Ken Kalish  (credit: CBS 11 News)

Marine Sgt. Ken Kalish (credit: CBS 11 News)

Operation Finally Home has built more than 40 homes for disabled veterans in Texas who want to get their lives back on track.  The non-profit depends on donations from developers, homebuilders, contractors, corporate and individual sponsors, many of whom were on hand for the Marine’s major surprise.

It takes such a burden off them,” said Dan Wallrath, president and founder of Operation Finally Home. “Regardless of what happens, they’ve got a roof over their heads.”

Several organizations teamed up to make the home giveaway possible: Operation Finally Home, the former NFL Players Association, the Dallas Builders Association, Southstar Communities, and Victory Custom homes.

The home should be completed later this year.  Click here for more information on Operation Finally Home.

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