Operation Home Giveaway – an initiative between Benchmark Mortgage and Boot Campaign – continued its mission to turn heroes into homeowners with the first annual Boots in the Bluegrass charity event on July 1st. Held at the exclusive Keene Barn in Lexington, the event benefited the Boot Campaign who work to help wounded returning veterans, and raise awareness of the obstacles they face. The highlight of the day was the award of a mortgage free home to Louisville native Brett Durbin who was wounded while serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq.
Marty Preston is the branch manager for Benchmark Mortgage in Lexington saying “I’ve seen client after client literally cry with tears of joy because they won their own home and to be able to give a house that’s mortgage-free to a wounded warrior is such a huge honor.”
The Boot Campaign is a grass roots nonprofit organization that was started by five women in Texas to honor our returning military heroes and help them with their transition back into civilian life. Over 8,000 US military personnel have been killed and more than 50,000 injured serving our country since 2001, and the Boot Campaign encourages people to show support for them by wearing military boots. Wearing combat boots invites questions, and those questions often lead to people donning boots of their own. Since 2009 they have attracted thousands of supporters including Hollywood celebrities and star athletes.
The events of September 11 weighed heavily on the mind of Brett Durbin when he enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. He wanted to honor those who had fought and died before him, and he got his chance with two tours in Iraq. He was wounded by shrapnel from an RPG while on patrol near Fallujah in August 2004, and a diagnosis of PTSD means that he will probably never fully recover from his wounds. He saw eight of his comrades perish while in Iraq, and another two after returning home. In 2008, Corporal Durbin experienced firsthand the challenges that returning veterans face when he lost a good job because of his flashbacks and memory lapses.
Since then Brett has shown the resilience and courage that are the hallmarks of a Marine, and now he can enjoy the American dream with a home of his own. He was overwhelmed by the award of a mortgage free house, and he will turn it into a home with his wife Ashley, his eight year old daughter Kaelyn and his five year old son Jeremiah. Rounding out the Durbin family is a PTSD service dog named Eliza that Brett adopted last year.
Guests at Boots in the Bluegrass had a great time while honoring our veterans. In addition to delicious BBQ food and ice cold drinks they had a chance to hear live music performed by local duo Sundy Best. Nick Jamerson and Kris Bentley grew up in Prestonsburg, KY and delighted the crowd with their unique combination of country, bluegrass, rock and soul. The duo felt honored to be chosen to take part and spoke about human kindness and the help they have received on their own journey.
To find out more about Operation Home Giveaway visit http://OperationHomeGiveaway.com.