Homes for Heroes is a nationwide program for military personnel and first responders who put their life on the line .
Like many Americans, after 9/11 happened, Claudette Sanchez felt like she needed to do something. she ended up serving in the Navy for 10 years, working as a helicopter crew member. Based in Virginia, she left the Navy in 2012 and transitioned back into civilian life and returned home to Southwest Florida.
Sanchez says, "I had this thought in my mind, like I do want to find a place that I can get a mortgage pretty low, lower than the rental cost right now. I had it in my head and I kept seeing his Jeep everywhere. Big, blazing American flag with all of the different military service logos on it. And I thought I wonder what that is all about."
Kevin McCauley, an Air Force veteran himself, took over Homes for Heroes four years ago. He says, "What we do is every time somebody is looking to buy, build, or sell, we actually contribute a portion towards the hero for the closing cost." McCauley says the money comes from his own back pocket, donating over 30% of his commission every year.
For Claudette, this is the second time she's used Homes for Heroes. The single mom of two boys says the time, effort and wait was worth it for her family. She says, "For them it's exciting. They're really resilient and because they were kids to a Navy mom, they kind of got used to that. Always doing something, always having to go somewhere, be somewhere."
The average contribution back to the hero is $2,300 to $2,400.
McCauley says, "This goes all the way from a piece of property worth five thousand to multi-million dollar homes. We don't care. there is no limit to any of our giving. it all comes down to if you serve, you deserve."
Claudette is thankful. She says, "They still keep on taking care of me through the V.A., through education benefits and through disability benefits. They're taking care of my kids. They take care of me. Programs like this are made available for veterans. I truly feel blessed to be part of it."