by Chase Rogers
Surrounded by his family and community members, U.S. Army veteran Sgt. David Guzman cut the ribbon to his recently finished home in Wimberley on Saturday. The house was built by the nonprofit group Home for Our Troops, an organization aiming to build and donate specially built homes to recovering veterans.
Originally announced to be constructed in November 2019, the home is tailored to specifically suit Guzman’s injuries sustained after his deployment to Iraq and to his personal skills as a professional chief.
“This home, I think, is going to be a tool to help me out in doing bigger and better things,” Guzman said to attendees, including fellow veterans, community leaders and friends. “God gave me a second chance.”
In 2004, Guzman, on his first combat deployment in Taji, Iraq, sustained shrapnel injuries, hearing loss and loss of use of his right foot among other injuries from a improvised explosive device. After immediate treatment in-country, he returned to service with his unit, but later contracted gangrene in his right lower leg. After being treated in Fort Lewis, he was medically discharged in October 2005.
“I noticed a small white truck on the side of the road. The driver and I just looked at each other. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I could feel the heat, the sweat and knew something wasn’t right,” Guzman told Barton Publications. “As soon as I opened the door handle, the bomb went off. Close to half my calf muscle was missing.”
After returning home, Guzman followed a passion for cooking, later obtaining a degree in culinary arts and agricultural science. His cooking, according to Guzman, became an outlet to serve others, his family and friends.
In addition to improved accessibility in the new home, the kitchen has been outfitted with chef grade cooking appliances and, much to Guzman’s liking, a back porch fit for grilling and smoking.
“Sheriff,” Guzman said, speaking to Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler who was in attendance. “Just let the fire department know that sometimes if there’s a fire and you see smoke, it’s not really a fire, I’m out on the porch,” he finished to hearty laughter from the crowd.
As part of the sheriff’s remarks welcoming Guzman to the community, Cutler made Guzman an honorary deputy to the Hays County Sheriff Department.
“Our country called, and he answered, so on behalf of Hays County Sheriff Department – when he calls, the Hays County Sheriff’s Department will answer,” Cutler said. “On behalf of the men and women Hays County Sheriff’s Department, welcome to your new home.”
Wimberley Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Minnick was also in attendance, offering a warm welcome from the community to the Guzmans.
“From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of our entire Wimberley Valley Community, we all promise you that we will be here to support each of you every step of the way,” Minnick said. “We are thrilled to have you as neighbors and friends.”
The Guzman’s house marks the 41st home built in Texas by Homes for Our Troops.