By Mia Overton
For the News-Gazette
“Home for the holidays” will have special meaning this year for the Inman family of St. Cloud.
Veteran Andrew Inman and his family received a brand-new home, courtesy of PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program in partnership with Operation Homefront. The family saw their finished home, located in Lakeshore at Narcoosee, for the first time on Wednesday with a host of neighbors, community supporters, and fellow veterans there to welcome them home.
“It’s surreal,” Inman said following a tour of the home.“We’re excited, but it’s super overwhelming,” said his wife, Erin.
Inman enlisted in the Marines in 1997, serving five years before joining the Army in 2003. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2006. An injury received during his service prevents him from working.
It had been a long-time goal for Inman to become a homeowner before he turned 40. With that milestone birthday still a couple of months away, this is a dream come true for the family.
Inman did not have a stable home environment when he was growing up and bounced around from home to home.
“I didn’t want that for my kids,” he said.
He said the Built to Honor program was the ultimate opportunity to give his daughters a home they could grow up in.
“What this home represents to this family, it means everything,” said Clint Ball, division president for PulteGroup’s North Florida operations.
The family first learned in May they were selected from more than 200 applicants to receive the mortgage-free home. The Inman home is the 52nd home dedicated through Pulte’s Built to Honor program, which was launched in 2013 to recognize and thank returning military personnel who have been injured during their term of service.
“This experience reminds us of the impact we can have when we come together as a community,” Ball said. “This was a reminder for all of us that this is a real opportunity to give back and a real opportunity to make an impact on the community.”
Operation Homefront President and CEO John Pray said the organization seeks to build strong, stable and secure military families so they can thrive – not just struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.
PulteGroup employees, vendors and trade partners rallied around the family during the construction, and many services were donated to build the home.
Pulte employees and others involved in the construction of the home, along with some of the Inmans’ friends and family members, left notes of hope, encouragement and love for the family on the studs of the walls before they were closed up. Inman also wrote a heartfelt tribute to all his fallen Army brothers.
Ball said the company worked with the family to ensure the house met the needs of Inman and his service dog. One of the family’s requests was a man cave for Inman, which he now has upstairs complete with a comfortable sofa, motorcycle themed artwork and throw pillow and a bed for his dog.
Daughter Brianna’s bedroom is just down the hall and includes a walk-in closet and private bathroom.
“I think it’s perfect,” said the 13-year-old. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Zoe, 7, said, “I’m grateful to have a room like this,” as she pointed out her new favorite pillow adorned with a sequined dolphin.
The four-bedroom house is completely furnished, and the family received a $5,000 cash donation to purchase additional decorations or other needed items.
Inman said he can’t wait to use the new kitchen when they move in. This holiday season the family will be making meals and memories that will last a lifetime.