Local veteran receives free home in honor of his service

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — For the past 10 years, Building Homes for Heroes has given away mortgage-free homes to wounded military veterans in need.

On Thursday, they welcomed another veteran to that list. Army Sergeant John Johnson arrived to see his new home for the first time Thursday morning. Johnson, who was deployed to Iraq, escaped with his life on several different occasions, leaving the army with nearly a dozen awards.

“It really brings a tear to your eye every time to see the relief that the veteran feels when they know they have a secure place and a safe place for their family,” said Kim Vandyke with Building Homes for Heroes.

“I’m so appreciative to them that they would give me a brand new home, mortgage free,” Johnson said.

Johnson and his two kids have lived with his mother for the past two years in Chester. He says he’s happy to finally have a home of his own.

“Seeing my kids so happy to be inside this new house and having their own rooms and having privacy for our own family is really good,” Johnson said.

“It’s about the happiest day that I can imagine,” said Nick Klym with JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Klym was there representing Chase, which donated the home. The company has been donating hundreds of homes to veterans in the past six years.

“To provide a mortgage-free home is just an amazing opportunity for the firm to give back to the communities where we live and work,” Klym said.

“It lets me know that this country actually cares about their veterans,” Johnson added.

“Honestly we change their lives,” Vandyke said. “They get to concentrate more on healing and getting on with their life and moving forward and not having the stress of wondering where their family is going to live every day,” said Vandyke.

To date, Chase has donated more than 900 mortgage-free homes to veterans.

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