Purple Heart recipient gets a place to call home in Celina



Posted on September 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 18 at 5:01 PM

CELINA -- An American hero is getting a little slice of heaven in the Carter Ranch community; a new home, courtesy of HelpingaHero.org and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

For Purple Heart recipient Brian Fleming, this is the ultimate thank you for his sacrifice.

Sergeant Fleming was in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber exploded just three feet away. He had 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns on his hands, face, and neck.

But he bounced back after 14 months of reconstructive surgery. Even his license plate reads, 'nice try.'

"I feel like a million bucks," Sgt. Fleming said. "I never imagined something like this would ever happen to me."

"I don't know how to say thank you enough," said his wife, Jamie Fleming.

HelpingaHero.org is behind the effort. The group has made this dream come true for 60 service members nationwide.

Now organizers hope to build a four bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home here fit for Sgt. Fleming's injuries, including a special air-filtration system.

"It's going to give my family the opportunity to plant the flag in the ground and finally, after all these years, call some place 'home,'" Sgt. Fleming said.

And yet in the back of his mind, he can't forget all the others.

"I feel somewhat unworthy of this, because I know guys who didn't come back home," he said. "I would love to see something like this happen for their families."

That's the reason Sgt. Fleming has dedicated his life to paying it forward to help fellow service men and women. He said most often, what they need is someone to just listen.

"You have to have some kind of coping mechanism, you have to find what works for you," Sgt. Fleming said. "Having people that care, not necessarily giving advice, but just having someone that is there makes a difference."

This is the third home for HelpingaHero.org in North Texas. The non-profit will be awarded 25-to-30 more homes next month at the national gala with former President George W. Bush.

The construction of Sgt. Fleming's home will be featured on a December episode of Extreme Makeover, here on WFAA.