Charlotte Army veteran moves into home days before Thanksgiving

by: Gina Esposito Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte U.S. Army veteran Joshua Grimmage moved into his new house in the north part of the city Tuesday.

"It's overwhelming, joy, happiness," said Grimmage, who served from 2004 to 2007.

He said he had trouble finding a place to live after leaving the military.

"I was bouncing place to place," Grimmage said.

A local assistance program, Veterans Path Up, gave Grimmage the opportunity to live at a home it was restoring in North Charlotte.

The home was donated by the City of Charlotte after it remained vacant for two years. Neighbors considered it to be an eyesore and in the past several weeks, volunteers have been restoring the home.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Greg McTigue said the home will have a big impact in the community.

"It's that broken-window effect where you take a home that hasn't been used in years, and you rehab that house, and you put a vital family in there, especially a veteran and it really makes a difference," McTigue said.

Veterans Path Up finds stable housing for honorably discharged veterans and in the past year, it has rehabilitated and secured three homes.

Grimmage hopes to buy his new home in the next seven months.

It's the third home the group has secured and fixed up for a local veteran in the past year.

Vietnam War veteran Willie Davis moved into his home and founder Ken Lacy said all the homes appear to have a major impact on each other.

"Willie is an inspiration to Joshua and that feeds on itself, and we just looking for that to continue in this community and all the communities that we touch," Lacy said.

Sheila Douglas lives next door and is also an Army veteran.

She said Veterans Path Up has impacted her life and she's excited to welcome her new neighbor.

"I feel very safe, but I'm just proud to be a veteran today,” she said. “I’m proud to be in this neighborhood, and I don't think I would want to go anywhere else."

Grimmage plans to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his 7-year-old daughter, and said his new home will completely change his life.

"It's just a lot, man,” Grimmage said. “Everything, there's a lot of people that don't have and I've already strived to get it, so to have regardless of the circumstances, I'm very thankful."

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: