Phooto above: It was a special homecoming for the Majetich family. From left are Ryan Marshall, PulteGroup president and CEO; U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ellis “Jerry” Majetich; Jack Mead, Pulte Group construction manager; Mary-Ella Majetich, Andy Pujol, founder, president and CEO, Building Homes for Heroes; Jacob Majetich, son of Jerry and Mary Ella Majetich; and Tony Nason, president, PulteGroup’s Northeast Florida Division
A U.S. Army veteran and his family received a new mortgage-free home from the PulteGroup and Building Homes for Heroes on Veterans Day.
Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ellis “Jerry” Majetich and his wife, Mary-Ella, were presented the 3,500-square-foot, two-story home and three-car garage. It was designed to accommodate his war-related injuries.
PulteGroup worked with Building Homes for Heroes to identify the Majetich family. Building Homes for Heroes is in its 14th year constructing and giving mortgage-free homes to veterans, according to a news release.
The company has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the last six years.
The decorated war hero was severely wounded when the vehicle he was in was destroyed by a IED. He also suffered bullet wounds in a resulting firefight.
Majetich was burned over more than one-third of his body and on his face and scalp, causing the loss of his ears and nose.
His right hand was amputated and he lost parts of the fingers on his left hand. Parts of his intestines and stomach were removed, and he fractured his spine and left foot and bullets struck him in his right shoulder and right leg.
He suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.
The couple did not have a lot of time to enjoy the new house before the Majetichs traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for another operation.
Tony Nason, PulteGroup Northeast Florida Division president, said he was impressed by Majetich’s attitude.
“He calls himself a lucky one because not everyone on his team made it back alive. To me that is what is most inspiring,” Nason said.
The home in Del Webb Nocatee includes a pool where Majetich can do rehabilitation exercises. The home is ADA-compliant, making it easier to use a wheelchair.
The master suite has a flush entry shower. Counters, drawers and the oven door are designed to be wheelchair accessible.
Majetich and his wife will live on the first floor while their grown son, Jacob, who helps his father, will live upstairs.
“The bathroom is Jerry’s favorite room in the house. He has no fingertips on his left hand and his right hand is amputated so the bathroom has always been tricky,” Mary-Ella Majetich said in an email.
“Add poor balance at times and trying to get into a tub and it’s a recipe for disaster. This shower is equipped for both daily needs and recovering from surgeries,” she said.
Besides the convenience of rolling into a shower rather than having to be lifted into a tub at his former home, the new home will allow Majetich to return home to recuperate from future operations, Nason said.
They often stayed at a hotel after surgery for accessibility.
The family had tried to remodel their former home but it was costly and didn’t adequately solve the problems.
Mary-Ella Majetich appreciates the specially equipped massage room.
“It makes it easier for me to do his daily skin care and work on the scar bands like the PT taught me to do without hurting my back. The functionality is life-altering,” she said
PulteGroup did not disclose the cost of the home.
St. Johns County Property Appraiser records do not yet include the structure. The house is adapted from its Stellar Grand floor plan that starts at $659,490, Nason said.
The Majetiches had not seen the home since it was framed. Friends, family and those working on the home wrote messages of encouragement and well wishes on the studs.
“I’d have to say they were in a state of shock when they saw it. We had furnished a good portion of the house, which they were not expecting,” Nason said.
The Majetich home is the second the PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program has given to an area veteran. PulteGroup as a company has provided 67 houses to veterans around the country since 2013.
Nason said his division is working with Building Homes for Heroes to find another veteran in 2022.
“Being that this is a city with two naval bases, we take pride in actively recruiting and hiring veterans,” Nason said, citing that 20% of PulteGroup’s Jacksonville office comprises veterans.