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Posts Tagged ‘Tim McGraw’

“I was blessed with a gift on my birthday” with Tim McGraw at his Chicago area stop, where Donna received a mortgage free home thanks to our partners at Chase.

When U.S. Army Sergeant and wounded warrior Donna Pratt won her first gold medal in the 2011 Valor Games Midwest, she felt a weight lift from her shoulders. She had become part of another kind of team.

Donna originally joined the military because she wanted to explore the world and needed a way to pay for college. She also wanted to answer the call to be a part of a team that was greater than herself. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Donna joined the U.S. Army in 1991 and again in 2007.

Her first tour was in the Gulf War. After serving for eight years, she reenlisted in 2007 and pursued a different mission fueled by a passion to do something after the events of Sept.11, 2001. She was assigned as a unit armorer responsible for fixing, distributing, and maintaining all weapons.

In 2008, she toured in Iraq. Because of injuries she incurred there, she began to suffer swelling and pain in her legs, which led to surgeries to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, and fractured bones in her feet and ankles. While she was in treatment, several soldiers in her unit were injured by an improvised explosive device and the guilt was difficult to deal with and she also battled PTSD.

Donna medically retired in 2012 and moved back to her hometown. She battled depression and felt like there wasn’t much she could do in her condition. During this time, she met her partner Tinisha and her five-year old son, which became her family. Tinisha took on the role of primary caregiver for Donna, but they struggled and Donna didn’t know how she was going to provide a secure and stable environment for her family.

Around this time, she heard about the Valor Games Midwest and decided to compete. And she did well, winning a gold medal in archery. And then she won some more, competing in sports like archery, cycling, shot put and discus. Over time with three gold medals under her belt, Donna regained confidence and found a new focus for her life. She hoped to attend a local university and continue to compete and become part of the U.S. Paralympics Team.

Operation Homefront first met Donna when she applied for and received a mortgage-free home in O’Fallon, Illinois, on her birthday. As part of the celebration, Donna got to meet Tim McGraw and go to his concert in the area, thanks to our friends at Chase who donated the home.

Between her new home and her sports, Donna is “racing” toward great things. She no longer has to worry about a mortgage payment so she is free to pursue her academic and athletic dreams.

“I want to truly thank Operation Homefront and Chase for looking down at a little person like me that decided to go and fight for our country’s freedom,” said Donna. “I was blessed with a gift on my birthday.”

vets-day_blog_thumbDonna is one of many veterans served by Operation Homefront’s various programs and services. To find out how Operation Homefront wants to help even more wounded heroes like Donna, visit www.operationhomefront.net/answerthecall .

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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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Our nation’s veterans struggle with unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. After serving our country, they deserve so much more. Today, we are able to share the story of a female veteran who no longer has to worry about having a place to call home.

brashearsblogveteransLinda Brashears always wanted to be there for people. So just after a year of college, she decided to take action and joined the Army in 1974 at the age of 19.

While on active duty in Kentucky, she served as a Medic until 1977. From there, she joined the National Guard until 1988, during which time she had her only son and moved to Chicago.  Linda then took a break from the military to focus on her family. But she couldn’t stay away forever. In 2003, she found herself back in Kentucky where she worked in the VA hospital and enlisted in the Army Reserves on her 50th birthday.

It was shortly after she re-enlisted with the armed forces that she was deployed to Iraq.  While deployed, Linda suffered multiple injuries, and in 2008, Linda was medically retired from service.

When Linda first heard about the Homes on the Homefront program through Operation Homefront, she immediately applied for a home that was close to her family in Rockford, Illinois. She was awarded the mortgage-free home by none other than country music superstar Tim McGraw. This house allows her to be there for her family, and has removed the financial pressure of keeping a roof over her head.

“I am so grateful for organizations like Operation Homefront,” said Linda.  “Life has been challenging since I’ve been retired, and I try to stay active helping out other veterans suffering from similar injuries.  Now I have a home to call my own, and be close to my son and granddaughter.  This house will be a blessing to our family, and hopefully I can let more troops know about the support they can receive from programs like Wounded Warrior Project and Homes on the Homefront.”

Join in the conversation with us as we celebrate those veterans among us, by sharing stories of your own. Through Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #11days11stories to share your own inspirational story of a veteran in your life.

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A military family writes openly about their move into their new mortgage-free home in Macon, GA, provided by our Homes on the Homefront program. The following includes excerpts from their blog Biddle Buzz. You can read the full version here. At Operation Homefront, we are proud to partner with Chase, Tim McGraw, American Signature Furniture and Tyson to make the American dream of owning a home come true for so many military families, like the Biddle family.

As we pulled onto our new street, camera men from CNN were at our house and filming every move from us parking, to getting out of our vehicles, to us walking through the house. The Biddles in front of their new home with Andrea Kephart from Operation Homefront.

When we pulled up, to say emotions flew everywhere would be an understatement. Our house is bigger than it looks in photos. It is GORGEOUS inside and out! We finally all have room to live and be ourselves. Our girls have their own rooms!!! That alone is AMAZING.

As soon as we pulled up to our house, I instantly felt overpowered by emotions and became very shaky as I got out of the car and walked to the yard. Of course, as soon as I was standing in front of our house I started with some tears. I actually did very well in containing myself as we walked through.

This whole experience has been above and beyond amazing. Quite honestly, it still a bit surreal and we are trying to process things and adjust. Andrea from Operation Homefront, Rusty from Chase, Joe and American Signature, Tim McGraw, our contractors and everyone else that has been involved in this amazing experience, we cannot say Thank You enough. Truthfully, saying thank you doesn’t seem sufficient enough. There is no way to repay all that we have been blessed with.

We talked outside for a few minutes then entered our house for the tour… WOW! As we entered the house, there was a plant in the foyer (yes, I have actually been watering it!).  As we walked up the stairs, Andrea grabbed my hand and told us we had to close our eyes because we would love what is at the top of the steps.

When she told us to open them, we were in awe. Our bedroom greets anyone that goes upstairs with french doors and a big room. We walked into our room and just stood there in shock.The Biddles master bedroom.

From there we looked at the kids rooms, which they had already claimed.

Some of our furniture came from American Signature in Lithonia, GA. (They) sent us a voucher to furnish some of our house. Ask for the manager, Joe Lane and tell him we sent you. No, we do not get any type of reward/incentive for sending you. We just REALLY love the store and the people in it. We could not have asked for a better company and people!

When we walked into the store, we were warmly greeted by a group of people that work there and were expecting us. Joe walked out with flowers. They led us to the office area, where there was a table set up with fruits, juice, coffee, and breakfast type pastries. Following the time in the office, we all headed out to look at the furniture. I think everyone took off in different directions during this time! Joe headed out with me and helped me find things that fit our house perfectly! We managed to find all that we need to fill our house and absolutely LOVE every piece of furniture.

Joe Lane, manager of the American Signature Furniture store in Lithonia, GA welcomes the Biddles’ son to the store.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each and every one of you that have played a part in this journey and made dreams come true. You are bringing hope back to combat veterans and their families and giving them a “reason” again. You are enabling us and families like us to give back in ways that we couldn’t before without the stresses that many of us face. Not only can we now give back more, but this also gives us the opportunity to focus more on Kevin’s injuries and find more stability in life for him, it allows each of us to have better medical care. It allows Kevin and I to do more for and with our children that before we couldn’t. Such as taking a day and allowing them to see the ocean for the very first time just days after moving in. It allows us to find who we are now in life and for that one thing and everything else we are forever grateful for this.

For the first time I feel like a weight has been lifted off of us and that things are finally beginning to look up. For years now, we have had so many obstacles thrown our way and we have fought so many battles to overcome them, together. With this positive turn, we can now look forward to our future.

Thank you family and friends for supporting us and standing beside us before the move, during, and now as we slowly transition.

The beautiful home provided, mortgage-free, to the Biddle family as part of Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program.

We also want to thank Tyson who joined us recently and is providing a year’s supply of Tyson products to families, including the Biddles, who receive homes through our Homes on the Homefront program. In addition, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have also started providing homes and support to our program and we are deeply grateful.

As part of the giveaway experience, the Biddles got to meet Tim McGraw and hear him in concert this summer.

As part of their giveaway experience, the Biddles got to meet Tim McGraw and hear him in concert this summer.

All members of the family get comfortable in the new home.

All members of the family get comfortable in the new home.

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Thanks to everyone who chimed in to get a shot at Tim McGraw VIP tickets. The winner is…(where’s my emoticon for a drum roll?)

Barbara.

Here’s why: She’s still trying to make up for last year’s Father’s Day debacle. Last year, she surprised DH with two tickets to a concert in Atlanta. She found a hotel, got a babysitter, made all the arrangements for a fabulous couple’s getaway. But two weeks before the concert, the Marine Corps announced other plans for Joe. He was headed to South America instead, and he had to leave within hours of the concert.

“Needless to say, the Marine Corps always wins, and we canceled the hotel and chalked the non-refundable tickets up to bad luck,” she said.

She’s also missing out on her Mother’s Day props; Joe will be on duty this Sunday.

So they’ll have a delayed celebration for last year’s Father’s Day and this year’s Mother’s Day, but a pre-party for their wedding anniversary, which is just a few days after the concert May 13.

As always with any contests we offer, I wish I had more to give. We only had two concert tickets, but we’ll be sending some goodies to the other folks who chimed in. Thanks again for participating.

And thanks to Outback Steakhouse and Tim McGraw for making this possible. Earlier this year, Outback pledged $1 million to Operation Homefront so we can continue to help military families in need. Special events like this make for priceless memories for our families who serve so selflessly.

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Tim McGraw and Outback have offered military members VIP tickets to Tim's shows. We appreciate their generosity.

The week is off to a great start when I have more goodies to give out.

Our friends at Outback Steakhouse and country superstar Tim McGraw have offered us two VIP tickets to Tim’s concert next Thursday, May 13 in North Charleston, S.C. We can’t supply travel, so you need to either be local or willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

Here’s what we need to know to select our winner:

How does Tim’s music help you get through deployments? Tell us in the comments section of this blog in 20 words or fewer.

Reminder: Operation Homefront serves active duty military/guard/Reserve and wounded warriors. So our winner has to be enrolled in DEERS, on TRDL or a recently separated wounded warrior/WW dependent; we’ll ask for proof of status. Prizes are awarded at our sole discretion.

We’ll take comments through 3 p.m. MT on Tuesday, May 4.

We’re so proud to count Outback and Tim among our supporters. They truly are committed to giving back and helping military families in need.

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