BUFORD, Ga. -- Imagine getting the gift of a beautiful home, without that pesky mortgage-just taxes and insurance payments to cover. That's what Bank of America teamed up with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to provide. The bank-owned homes were given to two very deserving families in Buford. They're two of twenty homes awarded so far in the nationwide program, and the first two to be awarded in Georgia.
The Oakes and the Listers are adjusting to life after loss. The Oakes family is trying to move on in a world without their father Curtis. He was killed in action two years ago after an Afghan police officer opened fire, killing Oakes and five other soldiers.
"You lose your best friend, you lose your kids' father, you lose your stability," said Army veteran and widow Brandy Oakes of losing her husband.
Daniel Lister had severe injuries and lost half his leg to an IED blast on his third tour in the Middle East. He often has to use a wheelchair, and many homes with carpeting and incomplete handrails reduced him to crawling on the floor to get around.
"It would freak the kids out," Lister joked. "But we're used to military housing, we're used to living [close] together," Lister said.
Both of them were working hard to make ends meet; and living in rented homes with their families. But that all stops now, with two newly renovated homes handed over to them.
"I cried like a baby when they called me, because there's no greater feeling than having your own home and having that stability for your kids," Oakes said. "Especially when they've been through such a traumatic thing."
Lister said the largest thing the family ever fully owned was a car. Now he catches himself in disbelief every time he walks in front of his new home.
"For the first time we're not worried, we're not concerned, we're not struggling," Lister said. "It's like a huge burden that's just been lifted."
To apply for a home yourself, you can visit the Military Warriors Support Foundation website.