RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond Army veteran and mother of five was given the keys to a new home from Habitat for Humanity.

Donyna Boyd and her children have been living in public housing for the past five years. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Boyd became a homeowner for the first time.

“It’s surreal,” she told 8News. “Just to see how beautiful it has become by just people putting their time and knowledge into it, just, I don’t even know what to say.”

Boyd enlisted in the United States Army when she was 17. She served as an Ammunition Specialist and was awarded several medals in recognition of her service. While no longer on active duty, she remains a member of the Army Reserves.

“I felt like the Army would show me new things, put me in a position I haven’t been in before, you know, just teach me different things about the world,” Boyd said. “I didn’t want to just be in one place. I feel like if the military never happened, I probably would’ve been stuck somewhere, never excelling.”

Over the past four months, the house Boyd purchased was renovated with the help of volunteers and Boyd herself.

The home includes a renovated kitchen and bathroom, refurbished bedrooms and house essentials to care for the property. This is Habitat’s 374th home in the Metro Richmond area.

Richmond Habitat’s veterans’ program, Habitat for Heroes, required Boyd to prepare for homeownership through multiple financial and homeownership classes along with 200 hours of volunteer time.

“The classes was mostly saving your money, budgeting, or how to care for your yard, and just certain things like that,” Boyd said. “It was just a great experience.”