Sarasota News Events:
Retired U.S. Army veteran Lucio Gaytan and his family received a warm welcome during the July 12 dedication ceremony of their new mortgage-free Pulte home. Attended by more than 250 guests, including PulteGroup employees and trade partners, Lakewood Ranch community representatives, state and local dignitaries and neighbors, the ceremony marked the completion of the four-bedroom, three-bath home in Sapphire Point at Lakewood Ranch. The home was donated to Sgt. 1st Class Gaytan through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor® program, which recognizes and thanks military personnel who have been injured during their service.
“Lucio has given so much of himself to this country and we are proud to honor him,” said Josh Graeve, president of PulteGroup’s Southwest Florida Division. “We hope this home creates a lifetime of new and happy memories for Lucio and his family.”
The professionally decorated home has more than 2,000 square feet under air and was thoughtfully designed for the family – Lucio, wife Ivette and their two children, Lucious, 6, and Lyanna,1.
“I stand before you as humble as I can be and grateful and thankful for my family,” Gaytan said before the ribbon cutting for his home. “This is a great honor. A great weight from my shoulders has come off knowing that my family is going to be okay. Allowing us to do this is like a reset so we can start moving forward.”
The home features an extended gathering room providing an activity table for art projects, homework and game nights, a large, covered lanai with a swimming pool and kid-tested finishes including durable wood-look porcelain tile flooring and quartz countertops.
Son Lucious’ bedroom reflects his love of Star Wars with Baby Yoda decor, lamps featuring 3D Death Starbases with matching printed shades and a two-toned accent wall proclaiming, “Lucious Jedi Master.”
Daughter Lyanna’s nursery is fit for a princess, with painted walls in soft pink-purple undertones, and Disney princesses in watercolor art prints and crib bedding. “Once upon a time… there was a little princess named Lyanna” is written across the nursery wall.
Representing Pulte Homes’ popular Mystique floor plan, Gaytan’s new home features comfortable furniture, a serene palette of grays and whites complemented by dark backgrounds and neutral farmhouse woods. The professional-style kitchen has white cabinetry, quartz countertops, a decorative mosaic tile backsplash, plus a walk-in pantry and a large island for casual dining.
Lucio and Ivette’s bedroom features alabaster wood tones as well as an extra-large walk-in closet and a private bathroom with an extended walk-in shower and dual-sink vanity.
The home also includes a beautiful guest room with a private full bath and shades of espresso and black in the furniture. The spacious outdoor areas offer a dining table for six, a sitting area, and chaises by the pool. The home also features wheelchair-accessible halls and countertops.
Since founding Built to Honor® in 2013, PulteGroup has donated 77 mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families, totaling more than $35 million in value. Recipients are identified through partnerships with other organizations serving military veterans. For the Gaytan home, Pulte worked with Building Homes for Heroes, a nationwide nonprofit of communities and corporations dedicated to improving the lives of military personnel.
After PulteGroup identified the decorated Army veteran as a recipient of a mortgage-free Built to Honor® home, Pulte first honored Sgt. Gaytan with a ceremonial groundbreaking this spring. Well-wishers lined the street as the family was escorted by a patriotic motorcade to their future home for the groundbreaking in early spring – coinciding with the 27th anniversary of Gaytan’s enlistment.
Pulte also honored Gaytan in April during Notes of Love, an event attended by county and community leaders, the family’s future Sapphire Point and Lakewood Ranch neighbors, friends, military veterans, trade partners, and representatives from PulteGroup and Building Homes for Heroes. Attendees wrote messages of appreciation, support and encouragement on the foundation, beams and drywall of the under-construction home.
Gaytan became the first in his family to join the U.S. Armed Services when he enlisted in February 1996 in Imperial Beach, Calif. He has often said, “There is no greater honor than serving my country.” Gaytan completed tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and received numerous military honors during his 22 years of distinguished service. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four campaign stars, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with a campaign star, Master Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.
Gaytan was seriously injured in a 2005 parachute jump while training for deployment to Afghanistan. He completed the deployment and served in the Army until 2018. During his final years of military service, Gaytan joined the Warrior Transition Battalion, one of the Army’s largest wounded warrior units, where he rediscovered his competitive spirit and relief from chronic back, spinal and leg pain while training for triathlons, wheelchair basketball and football.
Gaytan has traveled the country, competing in archery, cycling, field events and wheelchair basketball at several Department of Defense Warrior Games and in 2016 was among dozens of soldiers, veterans and civilians competing in a first-of-its-kind wheelchair basketball tournament at Fort Liberty, formerly known as Fort Bragg. He has also competed in the Hope for the Warriors triathlon in Maryland, regional Warrior Games qualifiers and the 2021 Turnstone Endeavor Games for athletes with physical disabilities in Indiana.
As the newest residents in Sapphire Point, the Gaytan’s will also enjoy the community’s recently completed amenity center which includes a resort-style pool, basketball court, dog park, playground, and clubhouse offering a fitness center and community room, as well as the active lifestyle and proximity to dining, shops and entertainment throughout Lakewood Ranch, the top-selling community in the United States.