Marine Corps veteran, family open door to new Bell County home

Saturday morning, a dream became a reality for Marine Corps veteran George Spruell and his wife Vanessa as they opened the door to their new home.

Vanessa says when they lived in Austin, it was hard to raise their grandchildren, not able to provide a roof over their heads.

"I feel so happy now to be able to grow and, you know, make a future for themselves. Because living in a car, you can't make a future of a car," says Vanessa Spruell.

Now with the help of Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, the Spruell family can proudly say they are homeowners.

Until now, the Spruell family represented a disastrous statistic: an estimated one in three Texans live without access to adequate shelter.

"Now they get to like, say, grandma, we can go home now. Grandma, you have to come home now, y'all. We can come home now. Y'all can eat now. Y'all could take a bath now," says Spruell.

Their new house was built last June at the 2022 Habitat for Humanity Texas Day at the Dome Capitol Build, where 150 volunteers comprised of state legislators, staff and Habitat volunteers from across the state joined forces to construct the house in three hours.

The finished house walls were erected in November 2022 in Nolanville, Texas -- a far cry from low-cost motels and the overcrowded conditions in which the grandparents, grandchildren ages 14, 9 and 4 and extended family are living together.

"So with this house here, they're set in their roots here. And so, they're all going to kind of age in place together," says Kristin Smith, CEO of Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.

The home is located across the street from a park where Vanessa and George can watch their grandchildren play.

"Once we came out here to do the closing and everything, once we seen how close the park was to the house, we were like, this is perfect, right, for this family to go to," says Smith.

Habitat for Humanity Texas is currently seeking legislative support to establish a $50 million fund to help double its output of homes and establish a skills training program to make housing more affordable and accessible to Texans.

"Legislation needs to understand we need them. We need somebody to come out here to help us support, you know, like what they just did for us," say Spruell.

The girls are already loving the community and their new school. If you would like to help out by donating school supplies, you can leave donations at the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity location and tell them it’s for the Spruell family.

The younger girls are also in need of twin-size mattresses for their bunk beds.