JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The events of September 11, 2001 motivated Jeff Taylor to join the army. He was in combat in Iraq when he was injured.
"It was 22:50. I remember and we were taking mortars from behind us," said Taylor
Two years later, he returned to his hometown Palatka a wounded warrior
"I have nightmares every single night," said Taylor, "I've got medicine to go to sleep, medicine to wake up, medicine for everything."
On Friday, Army PFC Taylor became a first-time homeowner. It may not sound like a big deal, but to Taylor, his wife and three children, it is a big deal.
"I have never owned a home and never thought I could own a home," he said.
A year ago, he applied to Purple Heart Homes for help. The North Carolina based nonprofit responded and Taylor's home is the first project they're done in Florida. Earl Richburg is with Purple Heart Homes and said Florida has 250,000 veterans in need.
"What we do is modify the properties to make their homes for disabled veterans," he said. "We make the house livable and make sure it is specific to their individual needs."
Hours before the Taylors would move into their Mandarin home, city inspectors were making their final rounds. Volunteers were in place and television crews were positioned.
The house was donated by Bank of America. It was a foreclosure and the labor and materials came from volunteers and local companies like Snyder Air.
"We always want to help out in the community," said Ed Miller.
And Michael Bivins Productions provided a Taylor guitar for the music.
"We are helping with the music for the concert, yes sir," said Bivins.
PFC Taylor said the home, which was decorated by the television show Designing Spaces, is a new start for he and his family, and he means new.
"I've never owned new furniture, I have never sleep on a brand new bed," said Taylor. "My wife is very excited."
It is a home built on the pillars of patriotism, service and community. His neighbors are excited and so is Taylor, who feels he does not deserve it.
"I did not see this, no not for me," said Taylor.
There are several organizations that assist disabled veterans to home ownership:
Purple Heart Homes
Homes for Disabled Veterans
Wounded Warrior Project
Always check with your local veterans affairs office for direction or guidance as to what is available.
First Coast News