War hero donates home to single mother of three

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

LAKE PARK, FLA. (WFLX) - Back in 1958 Deborah Knapp was a little girl enjoying life in her family's brand-new home on Date Palm Drive in Lake Park.

"I have a lot of memories, I had a bird sanctuary in the back and had a fort built," Knapp remembered fondly.

More than half a century later, the paralegal at Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley is handing over the keys to the place where she made so many memories on behalf of her father.

The family is giving the 3 bedroom/1 bathroom home to single mother Jomekeyia McNeil and her three sons.

"The goal was to have a home so I can have a solid foundation for my kids. I don't like to bounce them from place to place," said McNeil.

The home rehabbed by Habitat for Humanity was owned by Knapp's father, Phillip R. Scott, who served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force during World War II.

His B-24 plane was shot down over Europe.

He spent days at sea until he was rescued and received a medal for bravery from the Air Force.

The hero-homeowner is now bedridden but is thrilled McNeil and her sons are moving in.

"We're part of his history, having his legacy go on. His home is not torn down or abandoned. There's a family here that really needed it and I thank God my family was chosen for his home," she said.

As her three sons race to their new rooms, supporters from Habitat for Humanity watch on in pride.

But Knapp is the happiest. "This is an oldie but goodie home. It will serve them another 50 years, and I hope they build memories in this home as my family did," said Knapp.

Copyright 2010 WFLX. All Rights Reserved.