Meet Gerald Rice, our 2019 Veterans Build homeowner! Gerald served in the United States Army from 1974 to 1978. Rice volunteered for the Army when he was 18 years old. He was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and served in the 1-17 Air Cavalry Airborne, the reconnaissance unit for the 82nd Airborne.

After he served in the Army, Gerald worked as a sheet metal worker in Tampa and as a truck driver until he retired in 2010. Unfortunately, in 2012 he was in a major accident that resulted in a broken disk in his neck and a traumatic brain injury.

Gerald has been living in a dilapidated mobile home that he rents. His income is fixed but the living costs continue to rise. When Gerald was accepted into the Habitat program he was filled with hope and optimism. “It gave me great encouragement and excitement for my future. I will have better living conditions with more security and safety.”

He enjoys his time earning sweat equity hours. “I’m disabled but it doesn’t mean I can’t work. You have to stay busy and keep the muscles moving. I loved the work and exercise.” 

Gerald often cares for his grandson, Devon, while his daughter, Jessica, is at work. He looks forward to hosting them for cookouts at his new home. “My house will be a place of peace where I worship God and a place where my daughter and grandson can visit me. I hope to make my yard nice with a cookout area and a little fence.” Gerald is thankful to everyone who has helped make his dream of homeownership a reality.

To learn more about the Veterans Build, please click here.