Mortgage Industry Steps Up for Vets

By Kimberley Haas

Veterans throughout the country are being gifted homes or renovations to their existing houses as lenders and other business leaders come together to honor the service and sacrifices of the men and women who served in the U.S. military.

On Wednesday, Veterans United Home Loans in Columbia, Mo., announced they are giving away 11 homes to 11 veterans to celebrate Veterans Day.

Actor, comedian, and retired United States Marine Officer Rob Riggle has teamed up with Veterans United to be part of the project.

“These veterans have continued to live the military value of ‘selfless service’ even after they’ve hung up their uniforms,” Riggle said in a statement.

Veterans United is surprising 10 veterans with new houses in California, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Vets nationwide can enter for a chance to win the 11th house at

In a community near Tampa, Fla., Meritage Homes and Operation Homefront have partnered together to thank Navy Petty Officer First Class Garfield Johnson for his service as part of the Permanent Homes for Veterans program.

Johnson and his wife, Tia, received the keys to a 1,840 square-foot, single-story home where they plan to raise their two young children.

“This is more than a house; this represents a stronger, more stable future for my family,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that he can envision holiday gatherings and life milestones taking place in the four-bedroom home.

Permanent Homes for Veterans began in 2012 and more than 700 veterans have entered the program, according to their website.

Veterans are also being celebrated with repairs to their existing houses this Thursday.

In Manchester, NH, a Navy veteran will be getting a new roof on the home he has shared with his wife of 50 years.

He remembers with fondness what his wife looked like on their first date.

“He still remembers what his wife was wearing when she walked into the bowling alley all those years ago,” said Matt Mayberry, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association.

Mayberry said they have teamed up with Top Roofers, LLC, in Newmarket, NH, to complete the work.

Mayberry said that in this case, the veteran reached out to a local organization for help, but that isn’t always the case. He encourages anyone who needs a helping hand to ask for help before their house cannot be salvaged.

“You’ve got to say, ‘I need help,’ because someone else will say, ‘Tell me more,'” Mayberry explained.

Mayberry is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

According to officials at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are encouraged to contact the national call center at 1-877-424-3838 for assistance.