COCOA, Fla. — Decades ago, the Iran hostage crisis shaped the future of the country as well as the life of U.S. Navy veteran Joseph Fowler.

  • Service Source donates home to Navy veteran
  • Joseph Fowler served during Iran hostage crisis
  • Fowler suffers from seizures and struggles to work

On Wednesday, Fowler got a place to call home thanks to Service Source, an employment and housing service for veterans with disabilities. The group donated a mortgage-free home to Fowler at Crestview Villas in Cocoa.

The Villas offer affordable housing for veterans and others with disabilities, who are classified as having low income.

For the past four years, Service Source, in honor of Veterans Day, donates one of its condominiums to a veteran.

When Fowler was about 18 years old, he embarked on a special mission.

“(In) 1979, I joined the Navy when Iran took over the embassy. I went there on December 1979, got out of boot camp, and right away they put me on a cruiser,” Fowler said.

While overseas, the 58-year-old veteran says he was part of the Eisenhower Task Force during the Iran hostage crisis. For 10 months, he never saw land.

“Fifty-two American hostages were taken by Iranian (revolutionists), (who) took over the embassy for 444 days before they let them go, and if anything was to happen to the hostages, then we would become a fighting force,” he explained.

Fighting to get back on track after a head injury that causes seizures, Fowler says it's hard not being able to work or afford a home.

Not only is Crestview Villas a permanent place for Fowler to call his own, he doesn't have a mortgage payment. Thanks to The Home Deport Foundation, all housing units are painted and upgraded with new windows, electric service, flooring, fixtures, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Fowler says this is such a different environment compared with what he's been living in the past few years. He lived at Housing for Homeless in Rockledge for the past eight years and is thankful Service Source gifted him a home.

Service Source is a nonprofit that's helped people with disabilities since 1971. It serves about 28,000 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.