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Secretary of State Addresses Mortgage Industry at Honors Event

Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice delivered the keynote address to conclude Monday night's program at the ""10th annual Five Star Conference and Expo"":http://thefivestar.com/fsc in Dallas.

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Dr. Rice took the stage after the presentation of the 2013 Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award and the unprecedented giveaway of 10 free homes to U.S. veterans and their families by the ""Military Warriors Support Foundation"":http://www.militarywarriors.org/, four banks in attendance, and three event sponsors.

Dr. Rice’s address began with a declaration that the United States has unique characteristics that will enable it to weather challenging times both domestically and abroad.

""This is the most individualistic country in the world,"" Dr. Rice said. ""And yet we’re the most philanthropic. What is the paradox?""

Dr. Rice admitted that many Americans are ""tired of an international system that always calls on this country"" to help resolve its problems, but if the United States doesn't lead ""there will be chaos.""

""Someone will fill that void who doesn't share our values,"" she said. ""Authoritarianism just isn't stable.""

Dr. Rice pointed to the revolutions sweeping the Middle East to argue that revolutions against autocracy are frightening and unpredictable, and that such social upheavals often require much time and hardship before making real democratic progress.

The real crisis for America according to Dr. Rice, however, is one we face at home. ""The crisis we face in K-12 education is the single greatest crisis we face as a nation,"" she said.

Revered for her service to our country, as a leader in the fight against terrorism, and for spreading freedom and democracy throughout the world, Dr. Rice is an American hero, but as she remarked in her address, the real heroes of the evening were the veterans and their families who took the stage before her.

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This was the third year the Five Star partnered with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to deliver mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families living with unique or severe circumstances sustained while serving their country. In collaboration with event sponsors ""Matt Martin Real Estate Management"":http://www.mmrem.com/, ""Mortgage Contracting Services"":http://www.mcs360.com/, and ""the National Firm"":http://www.thenationalfirm.com/login.php, and with the support of ""Bank of America"":http://www.bankofamerica.com, ""Chase"":http://www.chase.com, ""U.S. Bank"":http://www.usbank.com, and ""Wells Fargo"":http://www.wellsfargo.com, their presentation Monday night made history.

Ten homes were given away, marking the 10th anniversary of the Five Star Conference--the largest number of homes awarded at one time since the Military Warriors Support Foundation was established. In addition to honoring veterans who were seriously wounded while defending the freedom and people of the United States, for the first time, the Five Star presented homes to three Gold Star families, the immediate families of heroes who were killed during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All of those presented with mortgage-free homes also receive three years of family and financial mentoring through the Military Warriors Support Foundation program.

""I can't thank you enough for your service to our great nation, and to the families for your sacrifice. It is an honor and privilege to have you here tonight,"" the Five Star Institute's president and CEO, Ed Delgado, told the veterans and families on stage.

The evening kicked off with the presentation of the annual Five Star Lifetime Achievement award, honoring one of the mortgage industry's own--Anthony T. Meola, mortgage servicing and operations executive at Bank of America.

Meola is described by colleagues as a problem solver who is methodically strategic. An author and mentor, he’s known for taking on roles most would walk away from and in the face of adversity, inspiring others to reach for and achieve excellence while reviving productivity and returning tenuous operations to profitability.

Meola's more than 25 years of leadership experience within the mortgage banking industry include some of the most-recognized names in financial services. As CEO of Saxon Mortgage, he was responsible for all aspects of the domestic residential mortgage business. He was COO of Morgan Stanley's U.S residential lending operations, led mortgage origination and production for New Century Mortgage, and held senior leadership roles at Washington Mutual, PNC Mortgage, and Citicorp Mortgage.

Five Star said it was honored to present the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award to Meola for his ""dedication to performance and progress, and for his leadership of the industry.""

_Editor's Note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of_ DS News _and DSNews.com._

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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