WESLEY CHAPEL — Air Force Master Sgt. Matt Feldhouse Jr., who returned from Afghanistan on Tuesday, can mark one task off his to-do list — repairing his 1998 Honda Prelude.
The Warrior Men’s Group of Grow Life Church, along with other friends and neighbors, surprised Feldhouse on Thursday night with an overhauled and souped-up version of his Prelude during the Wine Walk event at the Shops at Wiregrass. Feldhouse, who lives in Land O’ Lakes, has served in the military for more than 20 years as an aircraft mechanic with 18 deployments. Just before Feldhouse, 39, was deployed to Afghanistan in April for six months, his car broke down.
While he was gone, neighbors, local businesses and friends worked together to fix up his car.
“I am so stoked and so excited for him,” his father, Matthew Feldhouse Sr., said prior to Thursday night’s presentation. “It’s awesome. It’s been awesome the way the Lord moved in everything coming together for him.”
Feldhouse Sr. said the car was purchased more than a year ago as a project he and his son worked on.
“Being a fabricator and a machinist myself, I was versed on making parts,” Feldhouse Sr. said. “(What was done to the car is) a total overhaul. Just like you see on TV shows.”
In a letter written by members of the Grow Life Church, Feldhouse was described as a hero.
“Matt is a loving husband and father and a blessing to his friends and neighbors,” the letter said. “When there is a need, this ‘hidden hero’ is the first one to show up and the last to leave. He willingly helps whether it is restoring a home or repairing an automobile. Matt has never asked or expected anything in return.”
Taking part in the effort were: Warrior Men’s Group of Grow Life Church, Auto Body Express, Glenn’s Wheel Polishing, BJ’s Custom Auto Upholstery, PPG Industries, LKQ Crystal River, Bill Currie Collision, Insignia Graphics, Medallion Elite Club and residents of Wesley Chapel and Land O’ Lakes.
TBO producer Tim Chong contributed to this report.