FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A decorated Army veteran and Afghanistan war hero, along with his family, got what could be the best “thank you” ever; a custom-built, mortgage-free new home.

Representatives from Operation Finally Home and Pulte Group’s “Built to Honor” program gave Army Specialist Joshua Ashby and his family the keys Thursday to their new home in West Fork Ranch in Fort Worth.

“We tried to find a house forever and nothing ever worked out and then one of my buddies told me that God had a plan, he said, ‘just let God’s plan work out,’ and a month later this happened,” said Ashby. “It’s just amazing and I thank you guys for everything.”

screen shot 2018 12 06 at 6 51 44 pm Decorated Army Vet, Family Gets New Mortgage Free Home

Army Specialist Joshua Ashby cuts the ribbon outside his family’s new home in Fort Worth (CBS 11)

The Ashbys’ home is the 153rd home built for a deserving veteran through Operation Finally Home.

According to an Operation Finally Home news release, in June of 2011, Ashby was deployed to Afghanistan as a scout sniper. While there, he experienced many firefights and incidents of mortar rounds and rockets coming down on his team.

On Halloween of 2011, Ashby watched as their lead vehicle hit an estimated 200-pound IED. Ashby and his brothers sprang into action, orchestrating a helicopter rescue for the injured. Though shaken, his team continued to fight. During a nighttime mission, Ashby broke his nose after hitting a mounted weapon system and was unable to seek help immediately. Despite a later surgery, he remains unable to breathe through his nose.

His experiences in combat have resulted in PTSD, a traumatic deviated nasal septum, memory loss, depression and mood swings. For his service, Ashby was recognized with several awards, among them a Combat Action Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Commendation Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.

After completing his required active service, Ashby met a nursing student, Karen, whom he later married. Karen helped ease Josh’s transition into civilian life, recommending treatment options for his physical and mental health. Josh and Karen married in 2015 and welcomed a baby girl a year later. In 2017, they welcomed their second child, a son, who was diagnosed with a wealth of heart defects including Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome and Tricuspid Atresia. At less than one year old, their son had undergone three open heart surgeries, a diaphragm surgery and a fundoplication, with more to come.

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