VANDALIA — A decorated US Marine Corps veteran and his family are moving into a new home — thanks to the generosity of others — as a thank you for his service and sacrifice.
Sgt. Aaron Zurn, his wife Brittany, and their three children were officially presented with their new mortgage-free home on Old Springfield Road during a ribbon-cutting and open house on Thursday morning.
Spearheading the project is a Tennessee-based group, Operation FINALLY HOME. The group provides mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill and injured military veterans, first responders and widows of the fallen to honor their service and sacrifice to their community and country.
Among those in attendance at the event were Rusty Carroll, executive director of Operation FINALLY HOME, Josh Dungan from JM Dungan Custom Homes and Erika Deady, vice president of the Home Buyers Association of Dayton.
The Zurns were surprised with the news of the new custom mortgage-free home during a half-time ceremony at a February 2020 Dayton Flyers games. In the year that passed, many companies and individuals contributed to the project.
Zurn, a 2003 graduate of Vandalia-Butler High School, served more than 10 years in the US Marine Corps, including two tours in Iraq as a rifleman. On his first deployment to Fallujah, Zurn said he witnessed a fellow Marine killed with a rocket-propelled grenade 10 minutes after his arrival. That introduction, and the fierce fighting, still impact his life today, he said.
In 2010, Zurn sought a new challenge and reenlisted as a “jump qualified” Marine Special Operations Force (MARSOF) operator where he was deployed twice and frequently exposed to heavy enemy fire, ambush and IEDs. During his final deployment, Zurn fell out of a helicopter and was knocked unconscious, resulting in traumatic brain injury. He was medically retired in 2016.
Zurn still suffers from PTSD, bilateral hearing loss and knee injuries, among other injuries connected with being a paratrooper.
The retired Marine is married to his middle school sweetheart, Brittany. They, along with their three children, and a service dog, will begin moving into their new home this week.
For more information on Operation FINALLY HOME, visit OperationFINALLYHOME.org or follow @OPFINALLHOME on Twitter, or find them on Facebook.