U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Miguel Simental and his family joined representatives from Operation Finally Home, Verturo Interests, H-E-B and the City of McAllen Thursday (August 22) to celebrate the dedication of their new custom-built, mortgage-free home in Las Villas Del Rio at The Groves. It was the 167th home dedication for deserving veterans through Operation Finally Home.

City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling welcomed Miguel and his family to their new community after they were escorted to the homesite by the Patriot Guard Riders. Following the ribbon cutting, the Simental family received the keys and saw their completed home for the first time.

The home was generously built by Verturo Construction and was made possible by many organizations.

H-E-B, as part of Operation Appreciation, contributing time, talent, and financial support for the build along with furnishing and decorating it. Since 2013, H-E-B and the H-E-B Tournament of Champions have helped provide 26 mortgage-free homes to those in need. This marks H-E-B’s second home dedication in the Texas border.

“Every day at H-E-B we work alongside Partners (employees) who currently serve or who are Veterans. It is important to us to honor our service members here at home, with a home to call their own and the opportunity to get their lives back on track,” said Linda Tovar, H-E-B Sr. Manager of Public Affairs. ”It is a true joy to build this home for this family. We could not wait to hand them the keys.”

The City of McAllen waived several building-related fees. In addition, a large grant was awarded to Operation Finally Home for this project from the McAllen Housing Finance Corporation.

“We in the City of McAllen are so proud to welcome back home Corp. Simental and his family,” Darling said. “We hope that each time he looks out his front door, he feels the love and support of this city. We are grateful for his service and honored to call him ours. Hoorah!”

The Simental family was surprised with the news they were receiving a custom-built, mortgage-free home during a special groundbreaking ceremony April 25. They thought they were going through the preliminary interview process with Operation FINALLY HOME and the builder, but instead were greeted by the community at the site of their future home. The community wrote “Notes of Love” on the studs of their home May 30 before they were wrapped in dry wall. The Simental family will now feel the love of the community each time they walk into their new, fully-furnished home.