Wounded Army sergeant receives mortgage-free home in Palm Bay

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PALM BAY, Fla. - A United States Army Sergeant who lost both legs in Afghanistan was given a new home in Palm Bay on Friday.

Sgt. Justin Burdette, his wife and their 4-year-old son were given the keys to a newly-renovated foreclosure on Crosspoint Street as part of Palm Bay's Homes for Warriors program.

Burdette and his unit were protecting a convoy in Afghanistan when a rocket landed near him. Both of his legs had to be amputated below the knee.

But on Friday, Burdette was given a hero's welcome as his motorcade arrived at the home.

"It touches me that we can do this as a community and show our support," said resident Wendy Heatherton.

Burdette's home and three other foreclosed properties were purchased by Palm Bay with federal grant money. The homes are being renovated for wounded veterans in partnership with the Space Coast Paratroopers Association.

"I'm glad they're going to be helping a lot of soldiers in the area that need a little hand," said Heatherton.

Burdette's wife said receiving the mortgage-free home lifts a huge burden.

"Knowing we have the house and it's wheelchair accessible and knowing that we don't know what the future holds, but we have the house, that's a good starting point," said Beth Burdette.

But Burdette said despite getting the house, he's not ready to leave the Army for good.

"Trying to stay in the military for a drill sergeant and everything like that. That's what I want to do," Burdette said.

The city said Wells Fargo donated one of the foreclosed home for the program and officials hope there will be more in the future.