Back in July, U.S. Army veteran John Arroyo arrived in Burleson one day expecting to participate in an interview.
Instead, he and his wife, Angel, were surprised with the news that they would soon be the recipients of a new custom-built, mortgage-free home.
Construction workers broke ground on the property that day, and the Arroyos finally moved in on Friday after a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The home is gifted to them through Operation FINALLY HOME, which provides homes and home modifications to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen, in partnership with Lennar, a nationwide home-building company.
Arroyo served in the military for more than 20 years.
At just 20 years old, his first assignment was in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the 82nd Airborne Division. A few years later he became an Army Green Beret as part of the 3rd Special Forces Group during the Global War on Terrorism, and deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
After transitioning from enlisted soldier to commissioned officer, Arroyo was assigned to Fort Hood.
One day he heard gunshots on base and before he could react he was shot in the throat in what would become the second mass shooting at Fort Hood.
“April 2 of 2014 I took a 45 bullet through my throat, severed my jugular vein, I completely bled out,” Arroyo said during the ground-breaking ceremony. “When I was dying on the ground, Jesus spoke to me audibly and told me to get up. He said, ‘But, John, I didn’t save you for you. I saved you for them. I save you so that you can go help other people.’”
When Arroyo got up he began looking for other victims.
“There was one soldier walking toward me, it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon on base,” he said. “As this soldier’s getting close to me I begin walking towards him, asking him for help. It ends up being the soldier that just shot me.
“He gets 10 feet in front of me and Jesus blinded him. And he said, ‘Today you will live for me and tell the world about me.’”
Although he had a long road to recovery, Arroyo continued to serve in the Army for another five years. He still suffers from residual nerve damage and migraines sustained from his gunshot wound.