A Tennesse World War II veteran received a new house after his home burned down on his family farm in May.
Ninety-seven-year-old Billy Bradley was welcomed to his new home in Portland on Saturday. Local police officers, firefighters, and cars filled with strangers he had never met gathered to witness the heartwarming homecoming, NewsChannel 5 reports.
“I didn’t realize this many people knew about me,” said Bradley. “I’m amazed by it and honored too.”
In May, Bradley’s home burned down and he lost all of his possessions, including his World War II uniform and medals that recognized his service on D-Day and during the Battle of the Bulge, the outlet reports.
“I called the fire department and they all come, but it was too late. It was already gone,” Bradley told the outlet in a May interview.
A Lowe’s vice president saw Bradley’s story and reached out to NewsChannel 5 with the idea of building the veteran a new home.
A number of national and local companies partnered with the nonprofit organization Building Homes for Heroes to construct Bradley a new place to live on his family farm.
A representative for Building Homes for Heroes told the outlet that the organization had never assisted a veteran who was injured before September 11, 2001, though it changed its charter to assist all veterans.
Bradley was enamored when he finally saw his new digs.
“Like it? I love it. I’ve never lived in nothing like this before,” he told NewsChannel 5.
His granddaughter Dustin Cole had a large hand in coordinating the effort and keeping the new living quarters a surprise, the outlet reports.
“I just — it’s unbelievable, Just to know how much work went into this day. It was a collaborated effort of so many people,” she explained.
“It’s beautiful, I never could have imagined it coming together like this. I mean it’s really nice,” she added. “I know it’s a rough ole world but there are still really good people out there.”
Bradley will be hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner in his new home.
“You can’t explain it; there’s just nothing like home,” he stated.
Earlier this year, a thoughtful community member took it upon himself to replace Bradley’s medals and uniform, NewsChannel 5 reported.
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