Local military family receives the ultimate gift -- a brand new home

(Photo: Merrilee Moore)

HOLLY RIDGE, Onslow County - Operation Homefront makes a habit of giving military families homes to call their own every year -- this time, a family in Onslow County showed up on their radar.

The Johnson family used to spend close to $2,000 a month on rent for their apartment. Now, they are moving into a new three bedroom home for free, thanks to Operation Homefront.

"It's more than we ever expected," Matthew Johnson, a retired Army specialist said of his new home. "Oh, wow!"

Matthew served his country from 2012 to 2015, when he was medically retired. He used to live in an apartment with his family, but today he is checking out their new 1,500 square foot home in Holly Ridge.

"It's a great opportunity for us to plant roots for [our son] and grow up from the ground into an awesome little person and for us to be away from the hustle and bustle of Houston" Crystal Johnson, Matthew Johnson's wife, said.

Operation Homefront does this about 70 times a year, a representative said. Since 2012, the program has placed nearly 600 military families in their own homes.

"Operation Homefront's mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families," Margi Kirst, Chief Development Officer at Operation Homefront said. "We do this with generous partners like Wade Jurney so that these families can really thrive, not struggle to get by in the communities that they've really worked so hard to protect."

With a new home and no mortgage over their heads, the Johnson family has a new plan for their money.

"Definitely save," Crystal Johnson said. "Put away for [our son] so he can go to college."

The family is already starting to move into their new home, quick to express their appreciation for everyone on the Operation Homefront team.

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