CHRISTIANA, Tenn. — Wounded soldier Cahin Perez was handed keys to a new home — mortgage-free — on March 6 thanks to a partnership between Wells Fargo and Military Warriors Support Foundation.
Angela Kruse, a representative from Wells Fargo, and Dave Lieske from Military Warriors were on hand to present the family with keys to the home.
"I want to, on behalf of Military Warriors, thank you for your service. ... Our mission really is to help combat-wounded heroes transition from the military back to civilian life," Lieske told the Perez family in a brief ceremony. "We're so honored to be able to present this house to you and we're so glad it worked out."
Perez spent the weekend driving from Texas to Middle Tennessee with his wife, Karen, and their 4-month-old son, Lukas Daniel. They were joined at the key ceremony by his parents, who live in Antioch, as well as a sister, niece and godmother.
"This is great, thank you so much," Perez said as he was presented the keys.
Perez, who will end his military career in May after eight years, was first stationed at Fort Campbell in the 101st Airborne Division. Over that time he served two tours in Afghanistan, but during a training mission at Fort Campbell in 2015, the Humvee he was riding in crashed.
"It crushed my leg and I had my leg amputated," Perez explained.
After recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Perez moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent extensive physical and occupational therapies.
"Ever since then, I've been trying to push forward and continue on," said Perez, who continued to serve his country even after the accident.
It was when his wife was in labor in November that the family learned of the opportunity to apply for a mortgage-free home from Military Warriors Support Foundation.
Wells Fargo has a special division that deals with bank-owned real estate and various programs connect need with availability. Kruse is charged with finding just the right property for families being helped through Military Warriors.
"I try to find properties that specifically don't need a lot of work," Kruse said.
The property in Christiana needed only aesthetic touches to the three-bedroom, two-bath home. Then Military Warriors came in and build a wooden ramp on the back and front of the home to make it easier for the wounded soldier.
A spacious great room with vaulted ceiling serves as the center of the home and adjoins the eat-in kitchen, which overlooks a large backyard.
Not only is the soldier able to have a mortgage-free home for his wife and child, his new home is just 30 minutes from his parents, who live in Antioch.
"The stars just aligned for us to get this property," Kruse said. "We had this property and it's near his family."
Daniel and Ricarda Perez moved to Antioch 10 years ago and loved it. So did their son.
"I also met my wife in Nashville," Cahin Perez said. "She loves this area. I love this area. We knew it would be really nice to raise our family here."
With spring just around the corner, the soldier already has his eyes on a lawn mower. His father is already planning on planting some shade trees around the property.
"It's perfect for me," Karen Perez said, with tears in her eyes.
To learn more about how you can help other wounded heroes like Perez, visit Military Warriors Support Foundation at militarywarriors.org. In addition to partnering with corporations to provide homes for wounded veterans, Military Warriors also offers programs to provide automobiles and even life skills. After a veteran is given a home, the foundation offers a three-year followup program to ensure success in transitioning back into civilian life.
Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com