83-year-old veteran receives remodeled home as birthday surprise, says it's 'God's plan'

83-year-old veteran receives remodeled home as birthday surprise, says it's 'God's plan'
A new pillow sits on Murphy's brand new bed; Source: KFDA
A new pillow sits on Murphy's brand new bed; Source: KFDA
The word 'grateful' hangs on the wall as a reminder of everything that happens in life; Source: KFDA
The word 'grateful' hangs on the wall as a reminder of everything that happens in life; Source: KFDA
Murphy sits down at his new piano to play a tune on his birthday; Source: KFDA
Murphy sits down at his new piano to play a tune on his birthday; Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - After his home had been destroyed in a fire, the community came together to help 83-year-old veteran Ray Murphy - just in time for his birthday.

The then 82 year-old was running errands one day in November, when someone told him his house was on fire. He lost everything he owned, and it left him heartbroken.

"He said, Do you live on Teckla?'" relives homeowner Ray Murphy. "I said, 'I live on the corner of Mesa Circle and Teckla.' He says, 'Well your house is on fire.' All the way from United, I was hoping that it wasn't my house. I was wishing that this tragedy would be someone [else.]"

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Local businesses and members of the community worked together to remodel his home.

This was a surprise that left him nearly speechless.

"Shock, that's the one word," said Murphy.

Multiple organizations and businesses from across the Panhandle made sure this veteran wouldn't be left out in the cold.

Now, Ray's home is unrecognizable - a view that is a complete 180 degree turn-around from a few months ago.

"Everything you see was [charred] or black," said executive officer for Texas Panhandle Builders Association Lew Bradshaw.

Bradshaw is still blown away by the generosity of the community.

"He got to see how many people loved him, and cared for him," said Bradshaw. "A lot of [heroes] don't have that. To [get to] see how many people came together, helped him, honored him and showed their love, it's remarkable. His life is changed forever."

Embedded in the home's wall are scriptures, all written by volunteers.

Ray is back home, but there are still a few things he is in need of in order to completely settle in and make his home complete.

If you'd like to donate, visit Amarillo National Bank's website and click on the 'Ray Murphy Benefit.'

Bradshaw says helping out other is what the Panhandle community as all about.

"This is the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo, this is what we do," said Bradshaw. "Someone has a problem, this neighborhood came together unbelievably."

As for Ray, he's going to celebrate his birthday in style because he says everything that happens is all a part of God's plan.

"I think it must be one of God's greatest blessings," said Murphy.

For now, Murphy is just happy to be back inside his own home.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that veteran Ray Murphy served during World War II. Murphy was stationed overseas during the Cold War, a period of political tension between the United States and the now-disbanded Soviet Union.

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