HUNTERSVILLE – Sgt. Ron Wiley, a U.S. Army veteran, had an eventful afternoon Dec. 18.

Wiley and his family were the recipients of a new, Classica Homes-built house off Treasure Cove. The Wileys were given the keys and welcomed into their new, fully furnished house by members of the community, Classica Homes and Operation Welcome Home, a nonprofit that helps veterans transition from the military back to civilian life.

Wiley, a New Orleans native, enlisted in the Army when he was 17. He served in the Army’s First Infantry Division for 17 years – which included tours in Iraq in 2005 and 2008. Wiley suffered a traumatic brain injury from an improvised explosive device during his second tour.

“Ron Wiley is a true American hero,” Classica Homes President and CEO Bill Saint said. “As a sergeant in the Army, he wanted to do nothing but give his life and serve his country to the best of his abilities. Ron is a decorated soldier, a true leader, a warrior and a mentor to all the men who served under him.”

Wiley’s wife, Ashley, and children Chealsy, William and Hope, joined him at the event. The family took its first tour inside the furnished home, while onlookers followed.

His family’s reaction was pure joy.

“The best way I can put it, is when you look at a soldier who has just come back, and you’ve just got that pride and all, that’s what it feels like,” Wiley said. “This is a community coming together, and to me, that means more than anything.”

Wiley and his family are thrilled to live in Huntersville.

“I just love it here,” he said. “The people are great. The weather’s good. What more could you want?”

Saint’s praise meant a lot to Wiley, but the decorated war veteran said the support given to his family from Operation Welcome Home, Classica Homes and LP Building Products was invaluable.

“Bill called me a hero,” Wiley said. “A hero is an ordinary person who is put in a situation that is out of their control, and they do something extraordinary.

“These are my heroes.”