Staff Sgt. Felipe Tremillo, Jr. and his family received the ultimate surprise Tuesday.

CHINA SPRINGS, Texas — A U.S. Marine veteran and his family received the ultimate surprise Tuesday.

Operation FINALLY HOME, a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing homes to the military, first responders and widows of the fallen, surprised Staff Sgt. Felipe Tremillo, Jr. and his family with a new mortgage-free home.

The Tremillo family thought they were taking part in an initial interview with the organization, but instead, were brought to a groundbreaking ceremony where they surprised them with news of their house that’s being built thanks to the nonprofit, local builder Sorrells & Co. and H-E-B Operation Appreciation.

“I started crying, I didn’t have any words… totally shocked,” Tremillo said.

“To be recognized in this way… is truly just amazing,” his wife, Trina, added. “It feels great. We are so blessed by this opportunity. Still in shock.

Tremillo enlisted in the Marines in 2002. He was deployed to Iraq twice and once to Afghanistan. While deployed in Afghanistan, Tremillo was exposed to an IED in an attack that cost three men their lives.

Tremillo received treatment for a traumatic brain injury, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from the exposure to the IED.

“You go through these dark moments,” Tremillo said. “But it’s such a blessing… that we are going to be able to have these memories and this home.”

He was recognized for his heroism with several medals and accolades, including Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, an Iraq Campaign Medal, GWOT Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

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