SAN ANTONIO – He served his country on the battlefield and is now a single father of five children.
A grateful community made sure Matthew Sheffel has a home for his family.
Ask him where he’s happiest: it’s anywhere his kids are fighting to get a hug from their daddy.
"You want to be home with them,” he says. “You want to see them grow up."
After years of moving with the military, the family – including a set of quadruplets – now has a home to call their own.
"It's a big relief off of my shoulders,” Sheffel says.
And believe him when he says, those shoulders have carried a lot of weight.
Twelve years and countless injuries in the Marines and Army left Sheffel with a ripped off bicep and rotator cuff, plus a fractured back.
It’s especially remarkable for someone who wasn’t obligated to serve so many years.
"I was actually doing my final physical to get out after four years, and I was at the clinic to do everything when 9/11 hit,” Sheffel says.
The tragic day that changed a nation, and his career.
Sheffel retired from the Army as a Sergeant. And now, his life is changing again, with help from a group called Operation Homefront
"There's a huge transition from being separated in the military and civilian life,” Paula Pettibone with Operation Homefront says. “One of the things is jobs. The other is housing."
Operation Homefront has provided 20 homes, mortgage-free, to service members around the country. Sheffel’s home is the first one in San Antonio.
"One of the main things as a parent is always wanting to make sure your kids are happy and safe,” Sheffel says.
His kids love the home so much, they left their shoes at the door so not to dirty the new carpet.
"They've kind of had to grow up too fast,” Sheffel says.
Now, they’re making up for lost time, with the stars and stripes guiding them home.
Veterans who need some extra help getting re-adjusted at home can reach out to Operation Homefront for help. Click here to get started.