Representatives from Auction.com and Operation Homefront were on hand at the 2015 Five Star Conference in Dallas on Thursday night to assist Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado with the donation of six mortgage-free homes to wounded veterans as part of the Military Heroes Keys for Life Event.
The partnership between Five Star, Auction.com, and Operation Homefront was announced in March at the Five Star Government Forum in Washington, D.C. Auction.com, the nation's top online real estate marketplace, donated $50,000 to the home donation program at the government forum in March and another $50,000 on Thursday at the Five Star Conference.
"The Five Star Institute remains committed to promoting the presentation of mortgage-free homes to veterans through our continuous support of donation programs such as this one," Delgado said when the partnership was announced. "This home presentation to veterans program is part of our ongoing mission to raise awareness of the needs of our veterans to obtain housing. We are humbled by the immense level of dedication shown by Auction.com and Operation Homefront in helping us fulfill this mission."
"That brings us to a point where we can take care of our family, take care of our kids, and provide them with a stable home and a place where they can grow up."
Five Star has partnered with various non-profit organizations over the last five years to provide approximately $4 million worth of homes to service members. Auction.com CEO Tim Morse and Operation Homefront President and CEO John I. Pray were on hand for Thursday's presentations, as was Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who addressed the audience before the presentations were made.
"It's absolutely amazing to bring us to a point in our lives almost 30 years into the future," said Jeffrey Rodabaugh, one of the veterans who received a mortgage-free home. "Most people spend 30 years paying for a house. That brings us to a point where we can take care of our family, take care of our kids, and provide them with a stable home and a place where they can grow up. We plan on staying there forever. This is our last move. We've moved probably eight or nine times, so this is an opportunity for us to move for the very last time. It's absolutely amazing. It's the most wonderful thing in the world."
The event kicked off with the presentation of the 2015 Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Barbone, EVP at BankUnited.
The event also included a nearly hour-long performance from country superstar Wynonna Judd and her band, the Big Noise, for the second year in a row.
Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.