Stories

Veteran homeowner finds community and partnership through home donation

March 25, 2024
Two men standing in front of a house
Oscar Perez III, right, with Len McMorrow at the site of the home U.S. Bank donated to Perez and his family.

The home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is the 26th home donation by U.S. Bank since 2013

Oscar Perez III, a U.S. Army veteran medically discharged after being injured while deployed in the Middle East, said his journey to homeownership came with both joy and disbelief.

“When I was talking to Len (McMorrow, a senior vice president at U.S. Bank) on video chat, I tried to tell myself that I don’t get emotional,” Perez said. “When he told us we were being chosen, I immediately looked at my wife to see what she would do. To see her cry and to see Len cry – because I’m pretty sure he was crying because I started crying – it was just a whirlwind of emotion.”

A whirlwind that ended with Perez, his wife, Kristi, and their two sons living in a new home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, after being selected to be the recipient of a new home as part of the HOME program at U.S Bank and Operation Homefront’s Permanent Home for Veterans program.

“Together, we help veterans and their families realize the American dream of homeownership,” said Susan Ziesman, vice president of integrated public relations at Operation Homefront. “Homeownership is so important because it helps a family establish roots in a community and gives them the stability they need to plan for the future. Many military families struggle with transitioning from military life to civilian life, so having a home sets them up for success in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.”

The Perez family will receive financial counseling and homeowner education while living in their newly built home for about two years. During that time, they’ll be able to work to build their savings. Once they successfully complete the program, they’ll receive the deed to the home, mortgage-free.

“For this family, this brand-new home is a much-needed resource that will enable them to live their lives fully, without having to worry about a mortgage payment,” said Fred Bolstad, executive vice president and head of retail lending at U.S. Bank. “We are proud to do that with Operation Homefront, who shares our goal of honoring service members and their families for their dedication and personal sacrifice.”

The Perez family’s home was the 26th home donation since 2013 for U.S. Bank.

“This is part of the foundation of what we do at U.S. Bank to assist veterans, first-time homebuyers and people who really want to achieve that dream of homeownership,” said “Builder” Tony Cardoza, the national builder lead for the East Region at U.S. Bank, who helps connect veterans with new homes through community partnerships. “We can help people in every community that we are in by the way of different programs we have.”

For the Perez family, the dream of homeownership is a reality, with their future anchored in the new home that they now call their own.

“I don’t know how I can thank Operation Homefront and U.S. Bank,” Perez said. “I feel like it’s a duty now for me to do something. … I’m not sure there’s anything I could do other than giving back to somebody else."

A video featuring Perez and his home is available below.

U.S. Bank supports the unique financial needs of members of the military, from military checking to VA loans. Learn more at the Military Banking page.

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