Welcome home to U.S. Army Veteran Steve Surface and his family! Today, we joined Sears to award a newly-built, mortgage-free home to this amazing veteran family in Tampa, FL. “It’s really hard to grasp the concept of a mortgage-free home,” said Surface. The home, built by Wade Jurney Homes, was given to the family as part of our Homes on the Homefront program and through Sears Heroes At Home campaign.
Learn more about this amazing veteran family:
Born in North Carolina at Pope Air Force Base, Steve Surface was the son of a Vietnam-era member of the Air Force. At the age of two, his family moved to Chesterfield, Indiana, to be near relatives. Then at the age of 13, his family would move again to Largo, Florida. Steve graduated from the local high school and made the decision to follow his family’s legacy of military service and serve his country. In 1990, Steve enlisted in the Marines.
Steve served for almost nine years in the Marines. In 1993, he deployed to Somalia. He returned safely, but decided he was not yet finished serving his country. He decided to reenlist, but this time with the Indiana Army National Guard. He would serve for three more years before enlisting in the Army Reserves in 2004.
In 2006, two years later, Steve would again become an active duty service member. He rose to the rank of sergeant first class in the Army and served as a platoon sergeant for an infantry unit. He took his role very seriously, managing training segments, coaching and preparing junior managers to be successful, and advising the first sergeant on planning and execution of all training and operational readiness.
From 2010 to 2011 – for exactly one year – he served in the Middle East in Afghanistan. Surviving this tour, he earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his courageous and selfless acts in combat. In 2016, he retired with an honorable discharge: Steve suffers from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and several physical injuries to the knee and back.
During his transition, Steve, his wife Stacy, and 10-year-old daughter Carly Ann, faced many struggles, including the tragic loss of their 19-year-old son. Carly Ann has moved eight times due to her father’s military obligations. Steve and his wife have lived in 19 different places either renting or living in military housing. During the past several years, Steve has been able to successfully complete his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia Southern University. He hopes to secure a job with his new degree.
The family is currently renting a two-bedroom apartment in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. “This new home ... means so much to us,” said Steve. “It will provide support and stability for my wife and daughter.”
“My daughter (will) be able to have friends – especially in the neighborhood,” added Steve. “I (will) be able to continue to attend my monthly appointments as well as my wife’s medical appointments. It’s really hard to grasp the concept of a mortgage-free home, but this (will) be a part of my recovery and we (will) be a part of a great community.”
Steve plans to attend veteran golf clinics, plus provide support and assistance to other veterans. He wants to become active again by helping at the local children’s hospital, All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, by donating stuffed animals and toys for sick children.