That’s how the young daughters of former U.S. Army Spec. (and Purple Heart recipient) Bradly Hanawalt responded as they walked into their new home for the first time.
The Hanawalt family received the keys to their new mortgage-free home in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of Wells Fargo’s relationship with the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
“I plan to watch my children grow up in a safe, positive environment to create traditions and meaningful memories,” says Hanawalt, a veteran who served in the Army from 2009 to 2012 before being medically discharged after he was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. “Having a home for my family means everything to me.”
The Hanawalts’ home, which was owned by Wells Fargo as a real estate owned property, also underwent an environmentally friendly renovation with the help of team member volunteers and the local Wells Fargo Green Team. It features energy-efficient appliances, a metal roof made entirely of recycled material, a porch made from reclaimed barn wood, a reclaimed antique pedestal sink, and a restored claw-foot tub.
By focusing the renovation on preservation and existing materials, the team of volunteers saved more than 8,000 pounds of building materials from landfills. “We thought about what we could salvage and how we could use ‘green’ products,” says Benjy Klostermann, who works in Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and was president of the Iowa Green Team from 2012 to 2013.
Team member volunteers sanded floors, stripped paint off windows, power-washed and painted the exterior of the home, updated landscaping, and built a privacy fence.
“We tapped into Wells Fargo’s volunteer spirit and the Green Team’s focus on energy efficiency and sustainability,” says Tyler Smith, who works in Asset Management and Preservation. “We take special pride in taking care of families who have given so much.”
Wells Fargo worked with Level Construction and awarded a $50,000 grant to Home Opportunities Made EasySM, a nonprofit working to provide affordable housing in Des Moines, for the renovation. Most of the work was done by team member volunteers, though subcontractors provided plumbing, electrical, and other specialized work.
In 2013, Wells Fargo donated 86 properties worth about $11.8 million to military veterans. It’s part of our three-year, $35 million commitment to support military service members and veterans.
The Military Warriors Support Foundation refers families for home donations, and the families are expected to participate in financial education and remain in the home for at least three years. “We are proud of the long-standing relationship we have with Wells Fargo,” says Casey Kinser, vice president of programs for the foundation. “They have incredible hearts for our heroes, and we are honored to work with them on this home for Specialist Hanawalt and his family.”
Pete DeLanoit, who works in Home Mortgage says, “After all he has done for our country, we hope that Brad and his family will enjoy renewing their lives in Des Moines.”