Local Veteran Receives Free Home - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Local Veteran Receives Free Home

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Retired Lance Corporal Michael Puffenbarger and his family received the ceremonial keys to a free home in Milford at an event Tuesday in Rehoboth Beach.

The Fairway Mortgage Corporation, in partnership with the Boot Campaign and Military Warriors Support Foundation, gave Puffenbarger this free house through the Wounded Warrior Home Giveaway. It is funded completely by employee donations.
Corporal Puffenbarger received a Purple Heart after sustaining multiple injuries from an IED blast while serving in Iraq in 2007.  He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

This is the 14th home the Wounded Warrior Home Giveaway has presented to a veteran in the past year and a half. Louise Thaxton, the director of the program, noted how important it is to be a part of this project.  "I believe this is going to be a turning point for them to receive this mortgage free home, as it does with many young families," she said. "So many stresses, so many challenges with these injuries that they suffer, with PTSD."

Sean Parnell, author of New York Times bestseller "Outlaw Platoon," spoke at the event regarding how important it is to help veterans transition back into the real world. He also connected with Puffenbarger. "He's a hero, he was wounded in combat in Iraq in Fallujah in 2007 and receiving this home is kind of like an anchor for him to build a post-war life," he said. "We as a society owe it to him to help him along."

Kimberly Grim, the Regional Vice President for Fairway Mortgage in Delaware said the event was also used to teach local realtors how to help both active military members and veterans overcome the challenges in buying a home. "It's all about helping the veteran and understanding the challenges they have when they're coming back home to really reenter into the community," she explained.

Parnell spoke to the crowd as to why the realtor is an important job for returning soldiers. "A realtor is the first person they come in contact with and let me tell you, it would be a burden off a veteran's shoulders if the realtor that he was working with understood a little bit of what they went through," he said. "I think it's really important because only .4% of the people in this country volunteer to serve and the gap between civilians and veterans has never been wider."
Corporal Puffenbarger and his family decided not to speak on camera, but said they were very grateful for their new home.
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