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Christmas Comes Early For Veteran With Long Wishlist Of Home Repairs

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - One Army veteran no longer has to wait to get help with dozens of home repairs, they were all just about fixed in one day.

"I need a roller," Mito Guzman said.

It's supposed to be time off for Guzman, who's the Home Depot Assistant Store Manager in Miami Beach, instead, he's sweating it out in the sun painting.

"He's actually doing aviation mechanics," Guzman said proudly.

Guzman isn't letting the heat bother him as he works to a paint a house wall, because every brush stroke reminds him of his son, currently serving in San Diego.

"My son, he's a Marine, so anytime you say anything for the service you got to jump on it," he explained.

Guzman is just one of 25 volunteers helping Army Veteran Sean Perales. Parts of his home had fallen in disrepair. A recent septic tank issue forced him to close of the backyard, which kept his kids from play outside; further the exterior needed some tender, love and care.

"Then Santa came out and surprised you with a new bike, or your favorite doll, or favorite toy the one you've been wanting for so long," Perales said.

It's like that, only perhaps, better, because Guzman's wishlist came true Friday, thanks to the Home Depot Foundation and Operation Homefront.

"So not only are we trying to make it a safer place for him and his family but we're also beautifying the environment," Nadene Rose, Home Depot Store Manager, and Project Team Captain said.

Volunteers helped with a fresh coat of paint for the house, landscaping, and added new backyard furniture.  A new gas grill was a surprise gift.

"I can't do any job where I'm lifting, I'm standing for too long so trying to find a job was difficult for the first two years," Perales said.

He was medically discharged three years ago. Perales told CBS4 News it was a tough road to get back on his feet, so some repairs slipped away, but this outpouring has helped him regain a stronghold.

"It's just constant reminders that even though you don't have your rifle on your hip, your pistol on your hip, the people behind you covering your 6 and your 12," he said.

A reminder that people in the community care, and have this Army Veteran's back.

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