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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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Nonprofit Gifts Navy Veteran Mortgage-Free Home


U.S. Hospital Corpsman Third Class Luisa Velez and her son were welcomed to their new home on July 26. | Image by FOX 4

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A U.S. Navy veteran in North Texas received the keys to a new, mortgage-free home courtesy of a Texas-based nonprofit organization that provides or modifies homes for wounded, ill, and injured American veterans, first responders, and their families.

U.S. Hospital Corpsman Third Class Luisa Velez and her son were welcomed to their new home on July 26 thanks to a project called “Operation Finally Home.”

Operation Finally Home is a program that started in 2005. Community partners cooperate to complete projects because they value the sacrifices made by veterans.

“Neighbors, friends, strangers, businesses, and tradespeople, [and] entire communities … all volunteering time and skill and resources for one reason — to serve the men and women who have protected our homeland and give them a home of their own,” country music artist and U.S. Army veteran Craig Morgan said in a promotional video for the organization.

Velez spent two deployments to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. During her service, she worked in military hospitals helping stabilize and treat seriously wounded soldiers. When she developed PTSD, she had to return home.

“With my PTSD, that made that an impossible task because being in that same rotation of sick people and injured people just put me back into a loop. So I had to step back from that,” she explained, per FOX 4.

Velez set up shop in the beauty industry, specializing in nails, lashes, and other services. But she said owning a home would take years of saving.

“When I told my battalion friends what was going on, they were in amazement,” Velez said. “They said that’s the best program anyone could have.”

Velez’s new home in Irving is the 200th home Operation Finally Home has dedicated to a veteran. Projects have been completed in 32 states and 389 families have been served.

Founder Dan Wallrath said the organization hopes to celebrate the dedication of its 300th home in a few years. According to Wallrath, they won’t stop at 300.

“We’re going to keep going,” the founder said.

Individuals or businesses interested in partnering to create or modify a home for military heroes can learn more by visiting the organization’s website.

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