BASTROP, Texas - The Castille family arrived in their new neighborhood Friday morning with a police and motorcycle escort.
They were welcomed by a large crowd that had gathered for this special homecoming.
“Coming up the road, I wasn't’t even sure which house we were looking at for a second, and then it was, ‘Oh that’s our house?’ It’s amazing,” said Rebecca Castille.
Rebecca and Jason Castille were immediately embraced by those who organized the day. A partnership led by a group called Operation Finally Home and HEB.
“Every once in a while some will say, they got a free home. No, they did not get a free home, they have paid for this home with their sacrifice, their blood, their sweat, and Jason is still paying for this home,” said Dan Wallrath founder of Operation Finally Home.
Jason Castille is an Army Sgt. who was wounded several times while deployed in Iraq. Rebecca is also a military veteran; she served 10 years in the Navy. They are the 150th family to get a home as part of this wounded warrior initiative.
After a ribbon cutting ceremony at the front door, the Castille’s and their new neighbors got to tour the house. It was an emotional introduction.
“Coming over here today I told him it feels like I’m going on a blind date, but I’m excited because I knew it was going to be good,” said Rebecca Castille.
The house comes fully furnished- even the pantry was filled by the grocery giant.
“It’s definitely a dream, actually getting to see the house completed it does make your head spin,” said Jason Castille.
The house is located in Elgin’s Saratoga Farms community. For Joseph Varna who managed the construction this project was special.
“You bet man, when I found out what exactly we were doing, and learned about the Operation Finally Home, and what they really did.. I got to be the construction manager it was really humbling, especially for me, I never thought I’d be part of anything like that,” said Varna.
This is not the first big reveal for the family. The first actually came back in the fall and the other is hidden deep inside these walls. The Castille’s were at DKR stadium for a Veterans Day celebration in November. They were brought to the sideline and were told about being selected for the new home program. Later they were brought out to the construction site and were surprised by what they saw. On the framing, messages and prayers were written by residents of Elgin and the subcontractors.
The Castille’s expressed their thanks Friday to all those who made this homecoming possible. Jason also offered a message for other military veterans.
“Don’t give up, don’t give up because there are a lot of people here in this country that love you and support you, so just give them a shout and somebody will hopefully help, we plan to pay it forward and get involved the best we can too, so don’t give up, that’s the message, don’t give up.”
The couple currently works with a church in Cedar Park. Jason helps with outreach and Rebecca helps with a counseling program.