Wounded Air Force veteran begins new life with free home

IED permanently blinded Michael Malarsie in 2010

Author: Cory Smith, Reporter, csmith@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:32:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2013 06:46:14 PM CDT
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -

With his wife and three children by his side, Senior Airman Michael Malarsie walked into his brand new, mortgage-free, home in New Braunfels Thursday.

“This has been I would say, ‘A dream come true,’ but this is something I never even dreamt was possible,” Malarsie said. “I've never even won a raffle in my life. I've never had that sort of luck before.”

The couple was chosen by Operation Finally Home last year to receive the new four-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bathroom house.

“Overwhelmingly blessed, I guess, is the best way to put it,” said Jesse Malarsie. “It’s still surreal for us, but I’m sure in a few months ... it will feel like home.”

Officials with Operation Finally Home said the Malarsies were chosen, in part, because of the adversity Michael and Jesse have overcome during their short relationship.

In 2010, Michael was permanently blinded after an IED explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Jesse, whose first husband was killed the same day Michael was injured, met the 24-year-old during his lengthy rehabilitation.

“Mike Malarsie was not afraid to go behind enemy lines and do what his nation called him to do,” said Stephen Page, from Operation Finally Home. “I think it’s only fitting for us as Americans to reward him with something like a home.”

The couple had been living in San Antonio for the last several years but chose the New Braunfels area because of its family friendly neighborhoods.

Jesse, an Idaho native, said she’s happy to leave her somewhat nomadic past behind her and put down roots in Texas.

“I moved around a lot growing up, so for me to be able to raise my kids in one spot is huge,” she said. “This can be home base.”