Century Communities & Partners Welcome Veteran to New, Mortgage-Free Home

On May 16, 2024, Century Communities was honored to partner with the Houston Texans, The Howard Hughes Corporation, the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) and Operation Finally Home to welcome U.S. Army Sergeant Joanna Ellenbeck and her daughter to their new custom-built, mortgage-free home in The Woodlands Hills north of Houston.


The Ellenbeck family was initially surprised with the news they'd be receiving a new home during a Houston Texans game on December 18, 2022. Ellenbeck thought she was being recognized as the Texans' Salute to Service honoree of the game. At the end of the Salute to Service feature, the announcer revealed Ellenbeck and her daughter were actually being gifted a new home on behalf of Operation Finally Home and partners.


The Ellenbeck family recently moved to the Houston area from Arizona, allowing them to live closer to family and friends. This will help provide her young daughter—who was born blind and has cerebral palsy—the medical, therapeutic, and educational support she needs.



Century Communities customized the 2,012-square-foot, single-story home for the Ellenbecks, including sloped concrete to allow wheelchairs smooth transitions into the home; widening of all doors; addition of a blocking system in the child's bedroom for a harness system; installation of a changing table in the owner's bathroom; addition of grab bars in all bathrooms; and removal of the linen closet in the owner's bath to replace it with a door that allows for quick and easy access to the child's bedroom.


During the home welcoming ceremony on May 16, representatives of the Houston Texans—including cheerleaders, mascot TORO, and Texans legend Steve McKinney—were present, along with leadership from Century Communities' Houston Division, Howard Hughes, GHBA, Operation Finally Home and numerous partners and contractors. Ellenbeck and her daughter were personally escorted to their new home by Patriot Guard Riders and Operation Finally Home Vice President Lee Kirgan.


Ellenbeck enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11 and served for more than eight years, including three combat deployments: one to Afghanistan and two to Iraq. Serving with the 25th Infantry Division, Ellenbeck worked as an avionics mechanic throughout her military career, repairing Black Hawks, Chinooks and Kiowa 58 helicopters. She carries visible and invisible scars from her service, including a debilitating back injury sustained from her 2004 deployment. Ellenbeck's doctors believe her service-related injuries will require her to use a wheelchair in the future.


For her service, Ellenbeck received multiple awards and recognition. These include an Iraq Campaign medal with five stars, four Army Commendation Medals, two Meritorious Unit Commendations and two Army Good Conduct Medals, in addition to a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, among others. She was honorably discharged in 2010.