What if someone told you that the biggest expense that you have was no more?And that the money you would have spent on housing costs can now be put toward taking care of your family and ensuring their well-being into the future?It’s a dream for many, but it became a reality for veteran Bill Day after Veterans United Home Loans forgave his loan of $168,000.
We live in a country where we are constantly told that we should value our veterans and thank them for their service.Yet, the very government that asked them to risk their lives for our country often falls short on providing them with easily accessible and adequate health care, mental health services, and housing.
While the government has been working toward providing better care for veterans, it’s been nonprofits, other veterans, and regular Americans who make sure our servicemen and women don’t fall between the cracks and are valued for their sacrifices. One such organization is Veterans United Home Loans, which wanted to give back to Day, a veteran and single dad, by paying off the remainder of his mortgage.
The company, which provides veterans with loans and prides itself on customer service, asked Day to appear in a commercial for Veterans Day 2020.
Day happily agreed but had no idea that he would be surprised by the news that his mortgage was paid off.
Actor Gary Sinise, who isn’t a veteran but has famously played one as Lt. Dan in the movie “Forest Gump,” is the one that broke the news to Day.
Day, is a New York State information technology specialist, that joined the Navy in 1988 and was on active duty until 1991, when he joined the Navy Reserves, according to Times Union.
Day served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Mexico and Central America, where he assisted the Coast Guard in drug busts and other missions.
Day was honorably discharged in 1996 as a signalman, third class.
He bought his first home in 2018 with a benefit in the GI Bill that gives military personnel and veterans a break on mortgage rates and fees. Still, the cost was a stretch for this single father of four, one of whom is severely.
According to a 2019 Pew Research Center article, one-third of veterans say they’ve had trouble paying bills after leaving the military.
But Veterans United Home Loans wanted to ease that burden for Day and forgave the $168,000 still owed on his house. Day was shocked when he saw Sinise’s face up on the screen.
“Gary! Holy crap! How ya doing!” he said at the sight of the actor.
Day was even more shocked when Sinise told him his mortgage was paid off.
Day’s face completely fell in the most hilarious way. He was in such disbelief he pointed to himself and asked, “Me?” which made Sinise giggle.
“No, I don’t deserve that,” he said.
Sinise assured him that he, in fact, did.
“Oh my God! No way,” said Day with tears in his eyes.
Day began to explain the complications he had been having with his autistic son. When he explained how much this would help, he broke down in tears.
Day was one of 11 veterans who had their mortgage paid off.
“There are people who didn’t come home, who got hurt,” he said. “I have to find a way to pay this back.”
Day has vowed to make a donation to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which aids veterans. He also hopes to buy and fix up property to rent to veterans at a discount.
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