Veteran Home Giveaway

Fairway presents military veteran with mortgage-free home and raises over $5,500 for a local boy’s new leg

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation joined forces last week with two charities, the Boot Campaign and the Military Warriors Support Foundation to sponsor four “mortgage-free” homes to wounded military veterans last week. The collective branches of Fairway in the Charlotte area hosted two of these events last week, one in Lake Norman and one in south Charlotte.

On Friday, at Elevation church in Blakeney, SPC Grady Bendel and his family were presented the key to a mortgage-free home in Greensboro, N.C. Bendel was the final recipient during Fairway’s Home Giveaway Week, where a wounded Veteran was honored with the American dream of homeownership, without the obligation of a mortgage or mortgage payments.

Bendel joined the army in 2009. While deployed in Afghanistan, Bendel sustained wounds from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast, earning him the Purple Heart. Bendel said his leg never healed correctly and makes it difficult to get around. Coupled with the nerve damage, he is in pain every day.

Grady, Pepper (his wife of nine years) and their two daughters (ages 2 and 7) were presented with the mortgage-free home during a Fairway Independent Mortgage “Boot Camp” event held in Charlotte, NC, designed to train local mortgage professionals and real estate agents on how to help active U.S. military service members and veterans overcome their unique challenges to buying a home.

Grady said, “Receiving our new home is a blessing from God, it could not have come at a better time. We were to the point of leaving the military life with no idea of where we were going to live and then the great people of MWSF and FAIRWAY informed us of the wonderful news about our new home acceptance.”

Grady’s wife, Pepper, agreed, saying, “It was a true blessing from God that we were awarded our home. Upon my husband’s retirement from the Military we did not know where we were going to live or how. With prayer and a lot of Faith we applied and within weeks we were scheduled to get our keys. Thank you so much to Military Warrior Support Foundation and Fairway Mortgage for everything you have done. Now we no longer have the weight of the world on our shoulders and we have a safe loving home to raise our little girls.”

“Bendel is a true American hero and we are grateful for his service,” said Louise Thaxton, Fairway’s Military Mortgage Director who presented the Bendel family with the “key” to their mortgage-free home along with New York Time best selling author and speaker, Sean Parnell. “He has sacrificed so much for his country. He, like many other Americans who have put their lives on the line, deserves a chance at homeownership. Our Boot Camp events were created to help them realize that dream,” said Thaxton.

Local real estate agent, stated, “I underwent one of the most memorable and emotional days in my life–professionally and personally. This will not be a day I will ever forget. Friday was the first day of the rest of my life where I know to stay conscious on a daily basis about what our military and their families do to serve our country and to think proactively what it is I can do to serve those who serve us so selflessly. If I learned anything on Friday, it was that in cities like Charlotte where we don’t have an active military base, both active military and veterans can and do become “invisible” to us. It’s truly a shame that this is so and our country’s heroes do not deserve to be invisible.”

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At the event as well was 13-year-old Andrew Hastings. Hastings had been in the local media in the past two weeks for his volunteerism in the VA hospital. After being hit by car and losing his leg at the age of 7, Andrew has carved out a path of hope and giving back by volunteering with veterans who may be facing losing their limbs as well. Andrew’s father is an army veteran and Andrew’s grandfather was a former marine.

When Fairway found out that Andrew needed money for a new prosthetic leg (having grown out of his current one), they sprang into action. At the event, over 250 Charlotte-area real estate professionals filled a bag full of notes of encouragement and donation totaling just under $1300. Tom Tousignant, branch manager of offices in Lake Norman, Mooresville, Matthews and Blakeney, Dan Coggins, branch manager of the Monroe office, and Matt Gray and Jeff Gilmore of Cotswold each pledged to match the donations from their branches.

Hastings, who thought he was a special guest to help award the home to the Bendel family, was honored with a standing ovation before being presented with more than $5500 in donations. He and his family were as overwhelmed by the surprise as they were to discover that the photographer at the event had been their Childlife Speicialist at CMC, Shannon Wilfong after Andrew’s accident. It was a tearful moment for almost everyone who attended the event.

Now Bendel, facing the possibility of having his leg amputated, has found a new friend in the teenage boy and Hastings and Bendel have made plans to meet to get together in the coming weeks. Said Bendel, “Andrew Hastings is a great young man, he is definitely inspirational in all that he does. With his leg injury he is able to give insight and help to veterans learning to manage with their amputations. The time that he gives out of his day/life to help veterans is worth more than anyone could ever imagine. He is a role model for others of all ages.”