LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A local veteran and his family were honored Thursday morning during an event held by West Texas Hero Homes, Operation Finally Home, and HEB’s Operation Appreciation.
Thursday’s event, called “The Notes of Love Ceremony,” allowed community members to write notes on the beams in the frame of a home in Escondido Ranch.
That home is being donated to a local veteran and his family, mortgage-free. This year, the home was donated to U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class, Russell (Rusty) Snodgrass, and his family.
President of West Texas Hero Homes, Stewart Townsen, explained the ceremony.
“It’s sort of a tradition for us where people can come in and write on the studs. We do it at the framing stage. As you see and they write well wishes. they write prayers. they write bible verses. Whatever they feel like doing and just (sort of) will be encapsulated in the sheetrock once the house is finished,” said Townsen.
The Snodgrass family was invited to read the notes in their new home. They say they were surprised back in March with the news they would be receiving the home.
“When they announced that we were the recipients-- I’m not often speechless, but Rusty and I both--- I couldn’t believe it. just amazed and feeling blessed beyond anything we could have imagined,” said Ashley Snodgrass, Russell’s wife.
“I never knew a community to come together this fast to do something like this. And it’s really overwhelming,” said Russell.
Many organizations teamed up to help provide the home including West Texas Hero Homes, Operation Finally Home, and HEB’s Operation Appreciation.
“This is our seventh build in our eighth project since we’ve since we’ve started the West Texas Hero Homes and in giving mortgage-free homes to deserving veterans,” said Townsen.
“It’s just our way of recognizing our heroes. And really, it’s our partners who are both servicemen and women, our customers, families, and friends. And so this is part of the DNA,” said Juan Carlos Ruck, Senior Vice President for North West Food Drug for HEB.
Townsen said all of the materials and building labor is 100 percent volunteer and donation based. The organization said it is thankful for the love, support, and generosity from the Lubbock community.
“Lubbock is the best place in the world live,” said Townsen.
The organization started in 2010 and Townsend said, “we have never had any issues with having donations of money, materials, labor. Lubbock is just a great place to live. And we just all feel so blessed for these veterans and we all feel like we’re giving back to him for his sacrifices. So, it’s a good place to be.” Russell said he’s going to pay it forward to help other veterans and said he’s extremely thankful for all the love and support.
“Every piece of this house has been donated- from people just out of their businesses-- in a time of, of a pandemic. And they’re still giving, when it’s hard enough as it is, and that’s amazing. That’s amazing. There’s so many people that I can’t even name them all. And it’s a blessing, you know? It’s a blessing,” said Snodgrass.
West Texas Hero Homes said the Snodgrass Family should be able to move into the home sometime in fall 2020.