JUPITER FARMS, Fla. — Army Veteran, Justin Callahan is not one take a back seat.
The same was true in 2000 when fresh out of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
“You're protecting everything that our country stands on and everybody who lives in it - our freedoms, our liberty,” said Callahan.
He quickly rose through the ranks becoming a Combat Engineer Squad Leader during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in August 2003.
“It was about as frontlines as you could get at that point in Afghanistan,” recalled Callahan.
Less than six months in, everything changed.
"All I remember was that a loud explosion went off and next thing I knew I was laying on the ground," he said.
Callahan woke up in a field hospital eight hours later with an amputated leg.
Callahan returned home soon after learning to live and walk again.
Something as simple as navigating his home and bathroom became a challenge.
It didn’t stop him from pursuing his education, he graduated with masters in social work from FAU in 2019 and was immediately hired by the V.A. Medical Center.
“It's the most rewarding work I've ever done besides being in the military itself... being able to give back to the veterans when they're very vulnerable as inpatients in the hospital they're going through all these life changes,” said Callahan.
His biggest blessings though are his children and his wife Katie.
She was the one who encouraged him to apply for a new home through Homes for our Troops.
She says, “He doesn't really expect anything in return but I know he would really love this and it's just gonna make a world of difference to him.”
After a lengthy interview process the Callahans were selected for a brand new home in Jupiter Farms, free of charge. It’s scheduled to be completed in August.
“It takes a while to process and it's just an overwhelming amazing blessing I can't even put it into words right now,” said Callahan.
His wife says the roof over their head isn’t the best part of the gift.
“I think this is not even about the home,” says Katie, “but just about the healing part of it, like, just to heal from the past and to come to terms with it and just to know you're loved and appreciated.”
Callahan says that's all any veteran wants.
“The biggest thing, you can do to support a veteran is let them know they're appreciated and not forgotten,” he said.
If you’d like to learn how to get involved with Homes for our Troops, you can visit https://www.hfotusa.org/.