VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A community is paying it back to a local former U.S. Navy SEAL who served our country for more than two decades.
In this case, it’s the gift of a lifetime.
Retired Navy Lt. Patrick Ferguson and his family received a new home in Virginia Beach from nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes. It was paid for by SAIC, a defense contractor, and completely renovated by Scott Peterson and B&G Home Improvement.
Everything in the house is new: new floor, new carpet, new appliances, new doors, new windows — everything.
To top it off, Ferguson was escorted to the new house Tuesday by first responders, and greeted by a crowd of well-wishers and the media, including Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and House of Delegates member Kelly Convirs-Fowler, 21st District.
Ferguson calls his new home a Christmas miracle.
“It’s the Ferguson home again. My children can tell their friends ‘Hey, come over to my house,'” he said.
Ferguson served on SEAL teams 2, 4 and 8. Since he joined the military in 1991, he has been deployed to South and Central America, Africa, and Iraq, as well as other areas.
For his service to his country, Ferguson has been awarded two Combat Action Ribbons, three Good Conduct Medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal with a Bronze Star, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, five Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals and the National Defense Service Medal.
But he’s also faced plenty of challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder. He suffers headaches, and heartaches from comrades lost. He prefers not to talk about all of his experiences while in the military.
“We care because he’s a veteran, he has served our country, got wounded, and he has issues being disabled,” said Rick Leighton, a motorcycle rider with the Virginia Patriot Guard. The organization is the Virginia-based arm of the Patriot Guard Riders National organization and provides escorts for various functions.
When Ferguson entered his new home for the first time, he was greeted with a loud “Welcome home” from a crowd inside. All Ferguson could say was “Wow.”
He went upstairs and into all the rooms followed by well wishers and members of the media.
During the big event, Ferguson’s voice trailed off at times when he became emotional, realizing all that has been given to him. Words can be tough to come by when overwhelmed by such generosity after challenging times.
Building Homes for Heroes has built or renovated 225 homes across the country.
“Two years ago, I was down in the dumps ready to end it all, and now here I am,” Ferguson told 10 On Your Side.
Ferguson’s children are also proud.
“He has told us never to give up. Don’t back down from a challenge, and stay strong,” Ferguson’s son Bryce said while standing with dad and his little brother.
“I am really proud of my dad because this is a big moment for him, and all of us and I’m really happy,” Gavin said.
Ferguson’s dog, Ajax, who is more than man’s best friend, will also move in to the new house with his humans.
“I thought he was just being a brat, but he was waking me up from night terrors that I didn’t even train him to do,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson is uncomfortable talking about what is newly his. He’s humble, but most importantly, he remembers the friends lost who can’t have what he has.
“It’s hard not to remember them, their struggles,” Ferguson said. “They aren’t going to have life, and I am privileged… I am so thankful, so appreciative, I can’t tell you…. Thank you and God bless America. That’s all I can say.”