Home Award Launches Partnership to Provide Mortgage-Free Homes to Veterans
New York (March 19, 2012) — An American war veteran received the keys to a mortgage-free home—awarded by Building Homes for Heroes and provided by Chase—during the New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on March 19. Building Homes for Heroes' President Andy Pujol and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brian Williams, who currently serves as vice president of JPMorgan Chase's Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, presented a symbolic key to U.S. Army Sgt. Mary Herrera of the Arizona National Guard during the nationally-televised NHL game.
Sergeant Herrera is Building Homes for Heroes' first home recipient in its new partnership with Chase to provide mortgage-free homes to families of veterans who have severe injuries or unique circumstances sustained while serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sergeant Herrera was the gunner for the lead Humvee in a platoon in Iraq—when her convoy was ambushed from both sides of the road by AK-47 fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Despite being struck in the upper arm and forearm by two AK-47 rounds, nearly splitting her arm in half, Herrera maintained positive control of her weapon and continued firing in an effort to protect her fellow platoon members.
Despite severe loss of use, Herrera did not lose her arm. Major Gen. David Rataczak of the Arizona National Guard referred to Mary as the bravest person he has ever met and stated that she exhibited tremendous loyalty, physical and mental capability, discipline, courage, and professionalism.
In addition to numerous awards and commendations, Mary Herrera was awarded the Purple Heart. Due to her story and her example, the state of Arizona has passed a bill that authorizes tuition waiver scholarships to National Guardsmen and women who received a Purple Heart while serving in the military after Sept. 11, 2001. It is affectionately known as The Mary Herrera Bill.
Herrera, a single parent of a two-year old daughter named Mady, recently earned a bachelor's degree in social psychology from Arizona's Park University. She is employed by Arizona State Veteran Home, a certified skilled nursing facility for veterans in Tucson.
"Our mission is to make a meaningful and memorable difference in the lives of the wounded men and women of the military," Pujol said. "These homes help not only lift the family's spirits and ease their financial burdens, they help to restore the individual's freedom, and enable the veteran to lead a more independent and productive life. We are honored to be part of such a significant and noble initiative with Chase."
Chase is providing homes to Building Homes for Heroes who then identifies and selects families of severely-wounded veterans across the United States to receive the homes. Building Homes for Heroes will carry out renovations that meet the unique needs of these deserving recipients. Chase has pledged to donate 1,000 mortgage-free homes to non-profits, like Building Homes for Heroes, who support veterans in need by 2016.
"We are honored to award homes to our nation's military veterans and their families in partnership with Building Homes for Heroes," said Frank Bisignano, JPMorgan Chase Chief Administrative Officer and CEO of Mortgage Banking. "Our servicemen and women and their families have done so much for our nation. We hope that this effort will make a difference in their transition back to civilian life."
About Building Homes for Heroes
Building Homes for Heroes is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2006. Building Homes for Heroes is committed to supporting those who have returned home from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan with severe wounds and disabilities, with a goal to build homes for families in dire need. For more information on Building Homes for Heroes, visit the website at www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.
Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.3 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. Chase serves consumers and small businesses through 5,400 bank branches, 16,800 ATMs, mortgage offices, and online and mobile banking as well as through relationships with auto dealerships and schools and universities. Chase also has issued more than 90 million credit cards. More information about Chase's support of the military is available at www.chasemilitary.com.