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Posts Tagged ‘honoring veterans’

Our veterans have given so much of themselves to an idea greater than themselves, and many of you have honored that gift through your support of our mission.  On the last day of our “11 Days, 11 Stories” series, we would like to show you how your support has impacted thousands of military and veteran families.  This support has truly made a difference, and we are encouraged, daily, by the efforts to give back to those who give so much of themselves.

Having seen his brothers serving in the Marines, Petero Taufagu felt inspired to serve as well. Born in Pago, Pago, American Samoa, he decided to enlist in the Army in 1993. Petero spent sixteen years in the Army, deploying multipe times including three tours to Iraq. In 2007, he was medically retired and began a new chapter in the expereince of many who serve: transition.

After he left the Army, Petero, his wife and five children moved from San Diego, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada. During the move their 2004 BMW broke down and with their limited funds, they fell into financial hardship. Petero’s mother had passed, so their savings were gone, leaving the family without money for their auto repair, security deposit, rent and food.

Having only one vehicle, the Taufagu family was not only experiencing financial stress but major logistic challenges. They had to coordinate dropping all five children as school as well as being two working adults. Petero’s wife had to work around his schedule. It was then when Petero was referred to Operation Homefront by the Warriors Transition Unit.

Thanks to Operation Homefront and generous donors, Petero paid off and repaired his car, as well as getting some breathing room with housing costs and groceries for his family.

“Thank you,” said Taufagu,” We had limited funds due to the move and my mother’s passing, and you guys made it happen.”

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Petero Taufagu was the recent recipient of a new Jeep Cherokee, thanks to our partnership with American Airlines.

Transition from service is a challenging time for veterans, and especially so for veterans also coping with injuries and illnesses as a result of their service.  Many times, just one financial crisis can mean the difference between continuing towards a strong, stable and secure future and a setback that can take years to overcome.  Our Critical Financial Assistance program, as well as our transitional housing villages, stands ready to help when these families need it the most.  Our donors, sponsors, and supporters are the reason we have been able to provide over $21 million in financial aid, fulfilling more than 40,000 requests*, including:

  • Providing rent-free temporary housing to more than 500 families of wounded service members, saving them over $5-million in rent and utilities though our Transitional Housing program;
  • Matching nearly 600 military families with mortgage-free homes through our Homes on the Homefront program, providing well over $56-million in deeded value;
  • Delivering over a quarter million backpacks to military kids through our Back-to-School Brigade; 
  • Serving nearly 70,000 military families through our Holiday Meals for Military program,  a program that has  impacted over 300,000 individual family members since inception.  In 2017, we will be hosting families at 32 events in 20 states, serving thousands more.

This Veterans Day, we encourage everyone to show their gratitude for the gift of freedom given to us by the centuries of service of our nation’s veterans. Send a message of thanks or stories with #RaiseYourHand. Send us your pictures and videos that show your support for our military, our country and why you answer the call! Together, united, let’s show our American pride and show some love for those who give so much to make our country great!

If you would like to help support families like the Taufagu family, you can support one of our current needs or check out more ways to give here.

If volunteering is high on your list of ways to give back, we welcome you to see the ways to Get Involved with Operation Homefront.

* numbers through Summer 2017

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Summer is just around the corner, but it has already been heating up on Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town Tour. Not only is the country music star’s concert tour one of the hottest of the season, but he’s also giving away mortgage free homes to military families and veterans for the third year in a row as part of a terrific partnership with Chase and Operation Homefront. The partnership has awarded 88 homes so far.  Fantastic!

The homes, provided by Chase, are awarded through Operation Homefront’s ‘Homes on the Homefront’ program. Chase has committed to provide 1,000 newly renovated mortgage-free homes to deserving veterans and their families, many of which are awarded as part of Operation Homefront’s ‘Homes on the Homefront’ program.

McGraw is passionate about helping those who serve and therefore continues his efforts for a third straight year. “My sister’s a veteran of the first Gulf War. My uncle was a Vietnam veteran and my grandfather was a World War II veteran. I’ve always felt a deep sense of respect and obligation to our troops,” says McGraw. “Being able to reward them for their dedicated work with a new home is even more rewarding for us. It feels so good to give back to them, and to have the opportunity to entertain them is something I’m honored to do.”

Tim spends time with each family personally prior to each of his evening concerts, and also takes time to recognize them and all they have sacrificed in front of his thousands of fans. Tim will continue meeting with veteran families throughout the summer.

We’d love to share with you just a few of the families we’ve been honored to welcome home so far on Tim’s tour.

 

gangfamilyblogThe Gang Family – Phoenix, AZ The U.S. Navy Fireman Justin Gang decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and enlisted in the military.

Justin served as a fireman along with chemical, biological, and radiological warfare defense. He was a member of team VBSS – Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure – with the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group.

In 2008, Gang deployed to Afghanistan for one year. During his training, Justin suffered injuries to his spine and, during his deployment, sustained further injures that led to his medical retirement in 2012.

For the past two years, Justin and his wife Caitlin have faced financial hardship as a result of his medical discharge. Thanks to Operation Homefront and Chase, Justin will receive a mortgage-free home which will allow them to live near both their families providing a strong support network.

“We are truly grateful for the generosity of Operation Homefront and Chase during this transition,” said Justin. “We are so very appreciative and no words could ever describe what it means to be honored with such an amazing gift. This new home will help us grow stronger as a couple and work toward a brighter future.”

  

brittonfamilyblogThe Britton Family – Stirling City, CA

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jacob Britton comes from a long line of service members; his father, uncles, and grandfathers all served in the military. Born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., Jacob realized his childhood dream by joining the Marine Corps in 2008.

In 2009, Jacob deployed to Afghanistan for one year where he served as a diesel mechanic. As a result of what he experienced in Afghanistan, Jacob was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and medically retired from the Marine Corps in December 2012.

Following his separation from the military, Jacob and his wife Wendy had to rent a small apartment in an unsafe neighborhood. As a result, their children weren’t able to play outside and the environment contributed to Jacob’s PTSD. The family struggled financially, money was tight and Jacob’s stress levels were severely high.

Now, their new home gives the family a safe neighborhood in a small community with minimal noise and distractions which has helped to alleviate Jacob’s PTSD. Jacob hopes to return to college and complete his degree in computer science. Wendy recently completed a pharmacy technician program and now works at a local CVS Pharmacy. She is going through training to become a licensed pharmacist.

“This house is amazing and has made a world of difference in our lives,” said Jacob. “I thank Operation Homefront and Chase for giving me this foundation and stability for my family. After having moved so many times, I’m looking forward to staying in one place and watching my children grow up in a great community.”

 

mcgrawhoulehanThe Houlehan Family:  Cleveland, OH

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Chris Houlehan wanted to build a better life for himself and his family. Like his father, who was a service member for 32 years, Chris made the courageous decision to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2003.

Sergeant Houlehan deployed to the Middle East in 2005. He toured Afghanistan then Iraq from 2007 to 2009 as a motor transport operator. He supervised and operated wheel vehicles transporting personnel and cargo. As the backbone of the Army’s support and structure, Chris provided advanced mobility on and off the battlefield.

Houlehan medically retired from the Army in 2012 as the result of a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. His wife, Danielle, is his primary caregiver and provides Chris with daily assistance. They have a 13-year-old son who is active in sports and a straight-A student.

During his transition out of the military, Chris learned of an organization that provides service dogs to veterans as a means of helping them cope with TBI and PTSD. The founder of that organization is a ‘Homes on the Homefront’ recipient who referred Chris to the program.

After living in a small duplex and struggling with monthly rent payments, Chris applied for the home in Canal Fulton, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, he learned that he and his family were being awarded the home.

Chris’ plans for the future definitely include paying it forward and giving back to other veterans who served. He wants to volunteer his time working with the nonprofit organization that trains dogs to assist veterans.

“Being awarded a home is a humbling experience and I thank God every day for this opportunity,” said Chris Houlehan. “The things that Operation Homefront and Chase are doing are awesome.”

“It’s an honor and privilege to be awarded this home and it’s also an honor to be associated with organizations committed to helping veterans and military families,” added Chris.

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Learn more about Homes on the Homefront by visiting www.homesonthehomefront.org

 

 

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