JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- One national organization is paying it forward, and granting a deserving Jacksonville mother, the gift of a new home. Jessica Blow served 11 years in the Army. She was discharged in December and she came home to find herself struggling to make ends meet. That is until, HomeStrong USA and Bank Of America granted Jessica and her son, Camron, the gift of a new home in Arlington.
More than 30 volunteers worked 800 hours to renovate the 1950s New Haven home into a modern place for the family to stay, mortgage-free.
Blow call this, "a blessing."
Camron, 8, could not be more excited about his new home and his room with a race-car bed frame. He says the greatest gift is the happiness the home will bring for him and his mother.
"I give her five stars. Out of one to five," said Camron.
Blow served two terms in Iraq where she was injured by a five-ton vehicle and lost part of her vision. She also underwent knee reconstruction after another injury overseas.
For Blow, there were two surprises. The second, being her best friend, Stephanie, whom she served with in Korea.
Jed Davis, CEO of HomeStrong USA, says he travels the country in order to grant wishes to families.
"It's a pleasure for me to be able to do it. Especially when the children are involved," said Davis. "I have kids so when you see them jump up and down and go on the tire swing...it really pulls on my heart strings."
HomeStrong partners with Bank Of America for the renovations. Bank Of America fronts the money, and HomeStrong supplies volunteers and labor hours. Together, they make dreams become reality for veterans.
"I just can't believe that I was picked for this," said Blow. "I now don't have to worry about buying food or try to get housing...trying to find a place I can afford."
The mother-son duo now have a new roof, state-of-the-art kitchen, three bedrooms, one bath and a porch with tire swing and grill, included!
"I am excited about my new bed and my gifts. But most of all, I am most excited about me and my mom being very happy," said Camron.
Blows is a full-time student at Keiser University. She tells First Coast News, the new home will give her the chance to focus more on her studies and of course, her son, Camron.