Injured Marine veteran surprised with new home during ceremony at college basketball game

Injured Marine veteran surprised with new home during ceremony at college basketball game
Aaron Zurn and his family are presented with a photo of a new home that will be built for them in Vandalia. (David Jablonski, daytondailynews.com/David Jablonski, daytondailynews.com)

DAYTON, Ohio — There was a surprise presentation at halftime of the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball game Saturday against Fordham at UD Arena.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Zurn, of Vandalia, his wife, Brittany Zurn and their three children were presented with a mortgage-free home by Operation Finally Home, JM Dungan Custom Homes and the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

Aaron Zurn and his family received the news while standing at center court in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,407.

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According to a press release, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony at the home site in Vandalia in the spring.

Operation Finally Home was established in 2005 with “a mission to provide homes and home modifications to America’s heroes and widows of the fallen.” It started its 200th project this year.

Zurn served his country for more than 10 years. He did two tours in Iraq as a U.S. Marine Corps rifleman. In 2010, he reenlisted as a “jump qualified” Marine Special Operations Forces operator. During his final deployment, he suffered a traumatic brain injury after a fall out of a helicopter. He has post-traumatic stress disorder, bilateral hearing loss knee injuries and other injuries from being a paratrooper.

Among the awards he received for his service were two combat action ribbons, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with a Bronze V and the Marine Corps Commendation Medal.