STALLINGS, N.C. — Christmas came early for one North Carolina veteran and his family, as the Stallings community thanked him for his sacrifices in a life-changing way.
U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Carl Roush is no stranger to fighting. The Purple Heart recipient joined the military back in 2002 and has been deployed twice. His service left him with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
"Sometimes I struggle just to get out of bed in the mornings," Roush said.
But this time last year, Roush was faced with another fight -- keeping a roof over his family's head.
"We had literally just decorated for Christmas," Roush said. "Just got our Christmas tree, which I had just threw out because it was dry and falling apart."
Roush and his family faced a difficult decision as their home was filled with mold, which forced them to move out.
"It was so overwhelming last year -- last year at this exact time," Roush said. "Our friends who lived down in Florida made us drive down and spend Christmas with them."
So after devoting his life to serving his country, Roush's community wanted to serve him.
Mayor Wyatt Dunn of Stallings declared Wednesday as a special day in Roush's honor.
"I, Wyatt Dunn, the Mayor of the Town of Stallings, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, December 15th 2021 as U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Carl Roush Day, and I'm honored to officially welcome U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Carl Roush and his family to the town of Stallings, " Dunn said. "Welcome."
The welcome came along with the keys to a newly built, mortgage-free home.
It was built in partnership with a national homebuilder, PulteGroup's 'Built to Honor' program.
"Just being able to do something so selfless for someone that has acted selfless his entire life, it's something that just really warms your heart", Steve Francis, division president for PulteGroup in Charlotte, said.
Roush said it's especially impactful because it will allow him to watch his daughter grow in a home that is their own.
"It means everything, like all of our first memories with her, have been on the hotel floor or at a friend's house," Roush said, referring to his child. "So she actually gets to have a home now."
Roush said he'll always cherish the life-changing Christmas gift that came out of Wednesday's dedication ceremony -- especially because of the impact it will have on his daughter.
"It's her world and it's beyond my world," he said. "So that's it. It's everything."