(WSVN) - They serve our country and risk their lives, but when injured veterans return home, life can be a real struggle. But thanks to one organization, a mortgage is something some veterans don’t have to worry about. 7’s Brian Entin has more.
Staff Sgt. Rafael Fernandez, USMC veteran: “Hey, guys! What’s up?”
Coming home. Those words have special meaning to this Marine veteran.
Marine Staff Sgt. Rafael Fernandez: “It’s a gift that is — to tell you the truth, there’s no way to repay it.”
Marine Staff Sgt. Rafael Fernandez was severely injured in a blast in Iraq. His gift? A mortgage-free home in Homestead.
Staff Sgt. Rafael Fernandez: “I’m always either inside or outside the hospital getting surgery or recuperating. If I had a mortgage right now, I probably couldn’t afford it.”
Marine Lance Cpl. Ricardo Allen was also given a mortgage-free home — a three-bedroom condo in Miami.
Marine Lance Cpl. Ricardo Allen: “I’m actually speechless right now!”
Allen was wounded in Iraq.
Marine Lance Cpl. Ricardo Allen: “I was shot multiple times. I understand the magnitude of a gift like this. I’m truly grateful.”
It’s all made possible by Building Homes For Heroes, a national nonprofit organization founded by businessman Andy Pujol after 9/11.
Kim Valdyke, Building Homes For Heroes: “When he saw our veterans coming home so severely wounded, with nowhere to go, he knew he had a calling to put them in safe homes.”
The organization works in partnership with Chase Bank, either building special homes from the ground up or modifying existing homes to accommodate veterans’ injuries.
Alessandro Bagnara, Chase Bank: “It’s piece of mind that he doesn’t have to worry about a mortgage payment basically for the rest of his life.”
Veterans are eligible for the program if they were wounded after September 11, 2001 and if they don’t already own a home.
Kim Valdyke: “We have given now 107 homes nationally. This is our 77th home in the State of Florida alone.”
For wounded veterans, new homes mark new beginnings after traumatic times.
Ricardo Allen: “I understand that I’ve been given that second shot, so I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Rafael Fernandez: “It’s unbelievable. There’s no words to explain.”
Giving the gift of homes, so these American heroes can heal and move on with their lives.
All homes available for donation are listed on the Building Homes For Heroes website, and so are the applications.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Building Homes For Heroes
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