updated 10/31/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/01/2013 AT 10:15 AM ET
There are days when former Marine Sergeant Andrew Litz can’t bear the sounds of his two young children playing in their two-bedroom apartment in suburban Dallas, when his wife, Heather, reminds them that Daddy’s head hurts.
But on this October afternoon, the sturdy, intense former soldier is imagining a new life: one of calm connection with his family.
Standing in the yard of the brand-new home in Gunter, Texas, that will soon be theirs, he smiles. “This,” he says quietly, “is a place where I can heal.”
More than just bricks and mortar, the house is a safe haven, with five bedrooms and four baths. (Make a donation to help veterans like Andrew Litz, and charities like Operation Finally Home. Tune in to the Homeward Bound Telethon Sunday, Nov. 10 on the Military Channel, or visit HomewardBoundTelethon.org)
Since April 20, 2005, when an improvised explosive device in Ramadi, Iraq, killed two of his buddies and left him with a fractured back and neck, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, Litz, 32, Heather, 29, and kids Zachary, 8, and Madison, 6, have struggled, often living in various rental properties.