Imagine if someone approached you with the news that your largest financial burden was about to disappear. Picture the relief of knowing that the money you once allocated for housing expenses could now be redirected towards the well-being and care of your family, securing their future. For many, this scenario remains a distant dream. However, it became a heartwarming reality for veteran Bill Day when Veterans United Home Loans generously forgave his $168,000 loan.
In our nation, we are constantly reminded to value and express gratitude to our veterans for their service. Sadly, the very government that asks them to put their lives on the line often falls short in providing accessible and sufficient healthcare, mental health services, and housing support. While efforts have been made to improve care for veterans, it is often the dedication of nonprofits, fellow veterans, and everyday Americans that prevent our brave servicemen and women from slipping through the cracks and ensure they are cherished for their sacrifices.
One of these remarkable organizations is Veterans United Home Loans, which sought to give back to Bill Day—a veteran and devoted single father—by relieving him of his remaining mortgage debt. As a company that specializes in providing loans to veterans and prides itself on exceptional customer service, Veterans United Home Loans approached Day to appear in a commercial for Veterans Day in 2020. Little did he know that he would receive an astonishing surprise: his mortgage had been completely paid off. It was none other than the actor Gary Sinise, renowned for his portrayal of Lt. Dan in the film “Forrest Gump,” who joyfully broke the news to Day.
Bill Day, an information technology specialist in New York State, joined the Navy in 1988 and served on active duty until 1991. He continued his service in the Navy Reserves and participated in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, as well as various missions in Mexico and Central America, assisting the Coast Guard in drug interdictions and other operations. Day received an honorable discharge in 1996, holding the rank of signalman, third class.
In 2018, using the benefits provided by the GI Bill, which grants military personnel and veterans advantageous mortgage rates and reduced fees, Day purchased his first home. However, even with this assistance, the financial strain was substantial for this single father raising four children, one of whom has severe autism. According to a 2019 article by the Pew Research Center, one-third of veterans admit to experiencing difficulties in meeting financial obligations after leaving the military.
With the intention of alleviating this burden for Bill Day, Veterans United Home Loans decided to forgive the remaining $168,000 owed on his house. When Day witnessed Gary Sinise’s face appear on the screen, he was overcome with shock and disbelief. The weight that had burdened him for so long had suddenly been lifted, thanks to the compassion and generosity of Veterans United Home Loans.
“Gary! Oh my goodness! How are you, man?” he exclaimed upon catching sight of the actor.
Day’s astonishment reached new heights when Sinise informed him that his mortgage had been fully paid off. The expression on Day’s face transformed in the most amusing way imaginable. Overwhelmed with disbelief, he pointed at himself and asked, “Me?” This elicited a giggle from Sinise.
“I don’t deserve this,” Day protested.
Sinise reassured him that he absolutely did deserve it.
“Oh my God! No way,” Day responded, his eyes welling up with tears. He proceeded to share the challenges he had been facing in raising his autistic son, and as he explained how much this gesture would positively impact their lives, he broke down emotionally.
Day was one of the fortunate 11 veterans whose mortgages were fully paid off.
“There are comrades who didn’t make it home, others who were injured,” he said with a solemn voice. “I have to find a way to pay this forward.”
Day pledged to make a generous donation to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting veterans. Furthermore, he expressed his desire to acquire and renovate properties that could be rented to veterans at discounted rates.
For more information about Veterans United Home Loans, which is currently running a veteran home giveaway worth $100,000, please visit here, and to learn about the remarkable work of the Gary Sinise Foundation, please visit their website here.”