“This is the best day of my life,” said Vietnam Veteran Thomas Frazier, in tears after receiving the keys to a home in Redford donated mortgage-free by Southwest Solutions, in partnership with Bank of America.
Thomas is moving into the home with his wife Charleta and their 8-month-old son Thomas Jr.
The home had been vacant before Bank of America gave it to Southwest Solutions for rehabilitation. “It was in rough shape and needed a lot of work,” said Jim Budziak, realtor with Global Realty, which Southwest Solutions contracts to renovate houses donated by banks. The rehab cost was more than $35,000 to put in a new kitchen and new bathrooms, and to make the house move-in ready.
“The house is beautiful and a dream come true,” said Thomas, as he paused in the kitchen after seeing the other rooms.
Thomas served in the Army for eight years as a combat medic during the Vietnam War. After leaving the service, he returned to school and became a Registered Nurse. In 2005, he had to stop working after he was diagnosed with cancer. Medical treatments ultimately enabled him to be cancer-free, but the bills and his joblessness caused him to become homeless. He turned to Emmanuel House, an agency that provides housing and services to homeless veterans in the Detroit area.
After recovering from his illness, Thomas went to work at Emmanuel House and is now the Nursing Director, helping veterans with chronic health problems, substance abuse, and mental illness.
“Thomas has not only served our country, but he continues to give back a lot,” said Steve Gabrys, Real Estate Development Manager at Southwest Solutions. “It is our privilege to provide this home to Thomas.”
Thomas was handed the keys to the home by Kevin Breil, Vice President Home Loans at Bank of America, at a special ceremony this morning. “This key to your new home, Thomas, unlocks new possibilities for you and your family,” Kevin said.
Since it began the program in 2012, the Bank of America has donated more than 1,900 properties to nonprofits around the country that provide homes to military veterans and first responders. The program helps to stabilize neighborhoods by taking houses that were once vacant and in need of repair and making them into quality homes for families wanting to better their lives and contribute to the community.