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A second chance: Veteran in Riverview gets mortgage-free home

“It’s not just a house, it’s not just four walls, it’s our home.”

RIVERVIEW, Fla — Becoming a home owner can be a daunting dream for many but that dream came true for a veteran in Riverview on Thursday. The Military Warriors Support Foundation handed over the keys to a newly renovated mortgage free home to one well-deserving veteran and his family.

“It’s not just a house, it’s not just four walls, it’s our home,” military veteran, Purple Heart recipient and new home-owner Mark McDuffie said. “It’s where we’ll have Christmas mornings together as a family and celebrate birthdays and so many other great events we are looking forward to.”

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McDuffie grew up in Geneva, Alabama and joined the Air Force in 1997. It was during his second tour of duty in Iraq that he got injured and was medically retired. He earned numerous military awards including a Purple Heart. Transitioning to civilian life, he found the Homes4WoundedHeroes program that awards mortgage-free homes and financial help to combat-wounded veterans and gold star spouses.

“It’s such an honor to see these organizations support veterans. My family is just a small part of it,” McDuffie said.

The Military Warriors Support Foundation which works with Homes4WoundedHeroes has awarded nearly 1,000 mortgage-free homes since 2010. Wells Fargo has also donated more than 390 homes to veterans in all 50 states since 2012.

“It just takes the pressure off you because you know now that your kids will be taken care of and that’s ultimately what we are here for,” McDuffie said.

The foundation has also helped military families pay off more than $21 million in debt as well.

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