Sgt. Joel Tavera has lost his eyesight, right leg and suffered burns on over 60 percent of his body, but he's feeling grateful. The Iraq vet moved into a donated 4,200-square-foot home equipped for his needs on Saturday.
"I'm human. I've faltered a few times, but there's always something that reminds me God is always with me. And lo and behold I got a home," Tavera, 23, told the Associated Press.
J.R. Martinez, a "Dancing With The Stars" finalist and injured Iraq vet, was the one who reached out to Building Homes for Heroes to help Tavera. Martinez also invited Tavera to cheer him on in the audience as he tries to claim the "DWTS" grand prize.
"Witnessing Sgt. Tavera's smile despite the circumstances inspires me to this day," Martinez wrote in a Globalgrind.com blog post, "and it can inspire you as well."
Tavera was severely injured back in 2008 when his Sports Utility Vehicle was struck by five rockets, Myfoxtampabay.com reports. Three of his comrades were killed and Tavera has undergone 75 surgeries. He still has a few more to go.
Tavera was awarded with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and is ready to move into the house in Tampa that Building Homes for Heroes erected just for him, according to Baynews9.com.
"He's almost larger than life," Andy Pujol, a spokesperson for the organization told the news outlet. "He's a son to me and a son to a nation. I think if everyone in the world met him, the world would be a better place."
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