Thursday, Army specialist Nick Mapson was surprised with a generous gift.
It was a patriotic start to a party honoring several veterans, at least that's what Army Specialist Nick Mapson and his wife, Jackie, of Sugar Grove, were told.
"I had no clue," said Nick Mapson.
This is a home-builders gathering, and the injured Afghanistan war vet and his wife were the honored guests and recipients of a brand-new home.
"It's a good starting point to move forward and be more carefree and make the best of everything now," Mapson said. "Life is going to change."
"Having a place to raise our children, it's just such an amazing gift," Jackie Mapson said. "I couldn't ask for anything more."
In August, the 4-bedroom, 2,000-square foot house near Antioch will be home for the Mapson family. The home is designed with his injuries in mind. Mapson nearly died when his truck hit an anti-tank mine in Afghanistan.
"My truck got caught on fire and I got trapped inside the truck and suffered all the burns and stuff," he said.
That's why Susanne Tauke donated the land, and an anonymous woman donated more than $200,000.
"What she said is that she wanted a home where a family could heal," Tauke said.
The recession hit homebuilders hard - but despite the economy, 24 companies stepped forward to make sure the Mapson had this home.
"They love to give back and they love to help other people - it was just a perfect fit," Rita Unzner, Home Builders Assocation of Greater Chicago, said.
And give back to a grateful soldier.
"The biggest moment besides children that I will ever go through in my life, this is unbelievable and I'm so thankful," Nick Mapson said. "I couldn't imagine anything greater, so thank you to everyone. From the bottom of my heart I appreciate it."