ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- U.S. Marine Corporal Ray Lopez and his family received the keys to their newly completed, mortgage-free, custom-built home Thursday. Lopez and his family were initially surprised with news of their new home in August courtesy of Operation Finally Home and Silver Leaf Homes.

The family was escorted to their new home by the Odessa Police Department, Odessa Fire Department along with the Patriot Guard Riders for a special ceremony before getting a peek inside. 

“It feels good…to take care of our military, our veterans, especially our wounded veterans, someone that’s received a Purple Heart. He’s a very deserving recipient of this,” said Rodd Huber, OFR’s Assistant Fire Chief.

A humble Lopez said the gift feels “surreal”.

“I don’t feel so…deserving. But this sends such a great message of…hope. Truly, it is a blessing,” Lopez said of his new home. 

Lopez said his favorite room in his new home is the living room, where he and his two daughters will be able to spend time together. 

Originally from Kermit, Lopez graduated from Permian High School and joined the military following the September 11th attacks.  He served for more than four years in the U.S. Marine Corps from August 2002 to November 2006, including one deployment to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in November 2006 after receiving a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat.

In October, the community was invited to write notes of thanks on the studs of the unfinished home. Now that the home is theirs, the family will be able to fall asleep surrounded by words of support from the very people Lopez fought so hard to protect.