Marine Scott Wood died four weeks ago after suffering injuries during combat in Iraq. Before his burial, his wife dressed him in two uniforms. On the outside, Scott wore his military dress blues. Underneath, he wore the blue No. 80 jersey of Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Sara Wood had been married to Scott for eight years. They have a 5-year-old son together named Landon. Now he and Sara live in a single room in her parent's house.
"He knows daddy's in heaven," Sara said of Landon, "though I don't know if he fully comprehends what that means. He knows daddy's not coming back."
When Sara got an offer to go watch the Houston Texans play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, she jumped at the opportunity. She knew her husband would have loved to have gone to Reliant Stadium to watch his beloved team play. Plus, she and Landon had never been to a game before.
As described in a column by Tully Corcoran on FSHouston.com, the team brought Sara to the game under the pretense that she and her son would be part of a halftime ceremony in which Landon would receive a bike and Scott's memory would be celebrated by the 71,500 in attendance. Both those things happened, but a much bigger surprise awaited.
The team told Sara she and Landon would be receiving a custom-built, mortgage-free house in a Houston suburb. It's courtesy Operation Finally Home, an organization that builds houses for wounded and disabled veterans or their widowed families. In its seven years of existence, the charity has built 32 homes in 32 states, all mortgage free.
This home will allow the Wood family to stay close to family but have a place of their own. The hope is that she and Landon will move in next May. Scott won't be there, but that doesn't mean Landon won't talk to him.
"We told him he could talk to daddy in his prayers," she said, "and even in the middle of the day, you'll see him walk around the corner and you'll hear him say the 'now I lay me down to sleep prayer,' which Scott taught him. And then he starts talking to daddy."