Operation FINALLY HOME, Gallery Furniture offers furniture for the soldier’s new home

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Gifts. The big guys too. A house. Lots of things to build the house. A house full of new furniture.

Gifts and surprises keep pouring in for the US Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Netzley who was seriously injured in Afghanistan in May 2007. Operation FINALLY HOME helped the veteran get his life back by surprising him with a new home, being built by Perry Homes, on land in the community award-winning Bridgeland, donated by the Howard Hughes Society.

On Thursday afternoon, Netzley and her daughter were invited to Gallery Furniture for what they thought was an interview with Lee Kirgan, vice president of construction for Operation FINALLY HOME. Instead, he was surprised after meeting philanthropist and Gallery Furniture owner and founder Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, with a donation of a house full of furniture to complete the trio of major giveaways.

As Netzley entered the store, he was greeted by McIngvale, Kirgan and Heath Melton, executive vice president of Master Planned Communities at The Howard Hughes Corporation.

“We’re here to let you know that Mack has agreed to donate $ 20,000 worth of furniture for your new home,” Melton told the surprised soldier.

McIngvale was touched by his story.

“We love taking care of veterans and I want to salute Operation FINALLY HOME and the Howard Hughes Corporation. They do the heavy lifting and we donate the furniture. This wonderful and deserving soldier is a tribute to all the great men and women of this country and Operation FINALLY HOME has stepped up and hit the ball over the fence for him, ”said Mack.

Kirgan has announced that the new house, which has been under construction since early February, will be ready to move in on July 9.

“It can be his home forever. We built it big enough for him in case he remarries and has more children, ”Kirgan said. “As her condition gradually worsens, the house has already been modified for wheelchair access. It’s not something they like to talk about, but Kirgan said it’s imperative that the house be prepared for the inevitable.

Donating the land for the new home was important to Melton.

“At Howard Hughes, it’s very important for us to be part of the fabric of the community and to give back in any way we can,” he said.

“Partnering with Operation FINALLY HOME is just a great way to do it, obviously with the military. I myself am a former soldier. Having that connection with the military and giving back to one of our military men and women is very important to me, ”said Melton.

Melton himself reached out to Gallery Furniture to see if they would be interested, and they readily said yes.

“It’s really good to help Stephen and his family fill the house with furniture in their brand new home, and a lot of love,” he added.

It was overwhelming for Netzley who did not know how he was going to fill the house with furniture.

“It’s very exciting,” Netzley said. “It’s an absolute blessing. It takes a lot of stress and worry off my shoulders. This part is included, ”he said. “This is the best place to get furniture.”

Netzley was raised in meager ways where he never had a bed to himself, most often sleeping on the floor or on the couch.

He was encouraged by his two older brothers who had gone to the military to enlist because he could have a bed to sleep on, three meals a day, and clothing provided. For Netzley, who sometimes didn’t see a meal every day, this was all very appealing.

The soldier said he was very grateful to Mattress Mack and all he does for the community.

“It is such a blessing that they can help us and help everyone,” the soldier said.

Netzley’s mother, who was involved in theater, taught him how to renovate furniture and he was already looking for things to reuse and put in his house. This burden has disappeared.

He didn’t start packing because he said he really didn’t have much. He will take things, photos and memories, of his mother who tragically passed away in December before he could see the house.

Netzley said she was happy to know he would be taken care of with the gift of the new home.

All of his brothers served in the military. The older two, infantry and forward observer, helped guide him and suggested that he become a cavalry scout for the army.

He continued his studies at the University of Houston and obtained his BA Honors with Distinction and is currently working on his Masters in Consulting. He hopes to graduate next spring.

Once he’s done, he wants to use his new skills to help other servicemen advise and reintegrate into society after the war.

His daughter Mrazy is an energetic four year old and takes a lot of time and dedication, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.

They walked around the Gallery Furniture showroom trying to identify furniture they might like for the new home. Mrazy has already chosen a television for his bedroom.

Not yet knowing the size of the rooms or the layout of the house, Melton said Perry Homes had an interior designer who would help the family with their choices.

“We are absolutely thrilled to see how amazing Stephen and Mrazy’s home is,” said Matthew Gerdes, City President of Perry Homes.

The company provided the architectural team, interior designers, construction staff and some material costs.

“Building a home for a veteran is a great opportunity for us to do what we do best by using our expertise to provide a fantastic benefit to a deserving veteran,” said Gerdes.

Netzley remembers that day in May 2007 as “the most traumatic day” of his life. While on a mission in Afghanistan escorting Afghan soldiers, Netzley’s unit caught fire in an ambush along the road. They lost 18 Afghan soldiers and several American soldiers in the skirmish were seriously or seriously injured. His back injuries worsened to the point that the discs in his back gradually worsened and he suffered from perpetual, radiating pain in both legs.

Preparing the bodies of lost soldiers to be received at home contributes to Netzley’s post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stephen and Mrazy were surprised on November 23, 2020 in a Cypress park with the news of Operation FINALLY HOME, Howard Hughes Corporation, Perry Homes and the Houston Texans, he had been selected to receive a personalized home and without mortgage in Bridgeland, an 11,400 acre planned community located in Cypress, Texas.

He has not yet come to see the progress of the house’s construction.

“I want to save it for when this is over,” he said, his latest surprise.

“We’re definitely ready to go in there and start making memories.”

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