Military widow receives surprise of new home - WFLA News Channel 8

Military widow receives surprise of new home

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A military widow received the surprise of a lifetime Friday when she learned a charity would be building her a new home.

A gathering called a military appreciation event was really just a front for the surprise for Krista Harvell, who heard the news during a presentation at Pinecrest High School.

With dozens of onlookers in the stands, Golden Knights veterans parachuted onto the field and delivered the floor plans for her new house to Harvell, who was in the crowd with no idea she was about to become the guest of honor.

"I was like -- I thought I might faint," Harvell laughed.

Operation Finally Home is building a house for Harvell and her two young sons on a lot in Aberdeen.

Her husband, Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell, was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. Since then, she moved to California to be closer to his family, but eventually decided she needed to come back to the Sandhills where she has family and where they lived when Andrew served at Fort Bragg.

"You have your highs and your lows and you can't sit there and say, 'I'm OK,' because you're not. You're not going to be OK," Krista said. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I had my husband there."

The Moore County Home Builders Association and the Pinehurst-Southern Pines Realtors Association worked together to make the surprise a reality.

"Her brother lives here, her grandparents are in Sanford -- she has family here," said Paula Nash, with the Realtors Association. "So this feels like home to her, and she would like to move here and we want to welcome her here."

Meredith Sledz, with the Home Builders Association, said seven builders have come together to work on the house. Even more donors have stepped forward to furnish the home and provide other assistance.

"A lot of military personnel have discovered what a gem Moore County is," Sledz said. "So coming over here and welcoming this family is just natural for all of us."

Harvell said she was totally shocked by the surprised, but she was excited to take a closer look at the blueprints of the home. She said she is looking forward to returning to an area she loves.

"I really enjoyed California, and it's great, but it's nothing like being here," she said. "And I'm so happy to be coming home."

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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