Construction started in 2016 on the home that Building Homes for Heroes planned to gift to Capt. Nathan Nelson in Santa Rosa Beach.

That home is finished and the keys are to be handed over to Nelson just in time for Christmas.

The custom-built home located on Driftwood Point Road was customized to accommodate Nelson's injuries he received in Afghanistan four years ago.

While serving his third tour in Afghanistan, Nelson and his special operations team were under attack by heavy fire when he was exposed to a rocket blast that severely injured the lower half of his body. After dozens of surgeries and ongoing rehabilitation, Nelson has no movement below his waist and limited use of his hands.

Nelson's wife, Jennifer, was six-months pregnant with their daughter when this happened. Her husband was still in the hospital when their daughter was born.

Now confined to a wheelchair, Nelson needed a special home that he could navigate with ease.

That's where the non-profit organization Building Homes for Heroes stepped in.

The organization supports the men and women who were injured while serving their country after Sept. 11, 2001, during the time of the wars In Iraq and Afghanistan.

Building Homes for Heroes builds and gifts mortgage-free homes and completes home modifications for veterans and their families and provides more services along their road to recovery to help them live a fulfilling life.

The organization is counting 10 years of growth and has given homes to more than 100 families across the nation.

Building Homes for Heroes and its building partners built a new home for the Nelsons that will cater to his specific needs.

The Nelsons chose the location of their new home and will be moving to Santa Rosa Beach from Navarre.

"We're excited," said Nelson. "My wife and I looked at all of the Emerald Coast. With our daughter about to turn 4, schools were important to us, and traffic. We just knew we wanted to be close to Hurlburt."

Originally from Mississippi and Arkansas, the Nelsons lived in the Tampa area before moving to Navarre, so Nelson said tourist traffic will not bother them.

"We are very familiar with the area and tourist traffic as our family came to Destin frequently," he said.

With just one child, the four bedrooms and three baths in their new one-story home will allow the family plenty of room to spread out in its 3,100 square feet.

A ceremony is being held on Saturday to honor Capt. Nelson, present the keys, and unveil the finished home to the family for the first time, just in time for the holidays.

After gifting 28 homes in 2015, BHFH gifted 29 homes in 2016, including its milestone 100th home in November. The organization set its sights on gifting as many as 36 homes in 2017. This is Building Homes for Heroes' final home to gift in 2017.

"It's an altered state of living," Nelson said of living with his injuries. "I look at it as a rare opportunity. It's different than the life we planned but we encourage others to not be defined by this."

Both of the Nelsons went back to work this year.

"It's an opportunity, we want to make it a positive opportunity," said Jennifer.

To learn more about the organization, visit