A Waukesha veteran received a surprise of a lifetime on Wednesday, as Joe Davis thought he was presenting an award to someone else at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, but there was a twist.
A dull roar filled the church cafeteria for what was supposed to be a normal grandparents day lunch.
Near the back of the room a shy man wearing an army cap came to the front of the crowd to make another veteran’s day special.
"I promised Joe here that all that he would need to do is stand here and not speak," the pastor said.
All of a sudden, Davis became the main event.
"Joe the one we are recognizing today is you for your service in the U.S. Army," the pastor said.
"We are going to build you a brand new custom home and we can turn this around this is your brand new home," said David Belman with Belman Homes.
It was a heartwarming gift from Operation FINALLY HOME, an organization that has provided free houses to hundreds of wounded or ill veterans across the country.
Tears were followed by hugs for the Davis family that has dealt with both.
"It's hard to find the words but it's amazing," Davis said.
Davis served 11 years in the army with three deployments to the Middle East. After injuries came Parkinson’s disease which ended his career and made simple tasks many take for granted a challenge.
"We have a tri-level house so for him that could get complicated and in some ways it already," said his wife Carrissa Davis.
Davis will one day need a wheelchair, but now that's less of a worry.
"I won't have to go up and down stairs first of all which is a big relief," he said.
A free one story, four bedroom home will soon relieve many burdens.
"Just knowing that whatever happens with Parkinson's in the future, we'll be ready for it," Davis said.
Crews will start building Davis' new home this summer. They'll be able to move in around this time next year.
Operation free home said Davis was the fourth Wisconsinite selected to receive a free home -- for his volunteer work and selflessness through his illness.
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