WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco veteran and his family have a new home after struggling through homelessness and dealing with medical issues.
Veteran Darryl Thomas and his family have a new home after struggling through homelessness and dealing with medical issues. (Photo by Erin Zeller)
Darryl Thomas served for five years in the Marine Corps, completing two tours in Kuwait and one in Iraq.
Now, he teaches at-risk students at Midway High School.
His family of seven was homeless on two separate occasions.
Ten years ago his wife, Alexia Thomas was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, a disease that deteriorates muscle movement, balance, and speech.
"Doctors say there's no cure, but step by step, step by step, we're going to be fine," Thomas said.
“We’ve been blessed with this house, and we’ll believe we’ll be blessed with healing.”
Thursday, the members of the Thomas family counted their blessings.
They received a new house, mortgage-free, with the help of Bank of America and the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals.
"We are called Bank of America, and we feel vets are the foundation of that," Bank of America Senior Vice President Carrie Eninger said.
"When I pulled up and saw all the people, my heart started to really race. When we saw the house, that was breathtaking," Thomas said.
He said the family’s positive attitude is what has helped them overcome their struggles.
“I truly believe it’s not what you go through, but how you go through it. Challenges in life and struggles are common, everyone experiences something. It’s how you handle it,” Thomas said.
He said, he has taught his children not to have a victim mentality.
"We're not victims, we are victorious. Even though it seems like we are victims, we have the victories already,” the father of five said.
The family’s next step is to do something they have never had the opportunity to do.
"First plan is to paint the walls. We've never been able to paint walls," Thomas said with a smile.
"This home is going to give them the opportunity to say ‘I'm stable,’ provide for their children, and continue to tell his story,” Eninger said.
Thomas said he is grateful for Bank of America volunteers, the VAREP, and everyone who has helped give the family a permanent place to call home.