the first in what will be a series of articles
featuring mortgage companies and individual professionals who are giving back
to their communities. If you or your
company has adopted a school, sponsored a community event, or pitched in to
help someone in need, drop us a line and tell us about it.)
Like most mortgage companies, Fairway Independent Mortgage
Company’s business model involves putting people in their own homes. But Fairway and many of its employees are
putting a new spin on that mission and thanking some of the nation’s vets in
In July the company, partnering with the non-profit organizations,
the Military Warriors Support Foundation and The Boot Campaign, donated the
first “mortgage free” house to a military war veteran and Purple Heart
recipient in Dallas, Texas. They did it
again in Hollywood, California, in August, in Tucson, Arizona in September and
are slated to hand over house keys to another military family in Washington, DC
in October and two more will be ready next month in Louisiana and Florida. In
fact, Fairway has committed to providing a home a month for one year.
But the charity is far from being just a corporate
thing. Fairway employees have pledged over
$20,000 per month through payroll deduction to the project. Fairway’s involvement with the charity was
the brainchild of Louise Thaxton, a producing branch manager for Fairway with
offices in Louisiana and Florida.
Thaxton holds Fairway’s designation of Military Mortgage SpecialistTM and
is director of its Military Mortgage Specialist department. Last year she ranked number 14 nationally in
the origination of VA loans according to Scotsman
Guide. Louise and her professional
involvement with military families led her to the Boot Campaign to which she
now serves as Fairway’s ambassador, and that ultimately served as the catalyst
for the Fairway program.
The Boot Campaign is a non-profit military appreciation and
veteran awareness campaign based in Texas.
Launched in 2009 by a group of women known as The Boot Girls, its mission
is to express gratitude to the troops, spread awareness of the needs of
military personnel and support their transition home. Through the sale of signature military combat
boots, the Boot Campaign donates proceeds to a group of partner charities, one
of which is the Military Warrior Support Foundation.
The Foundation acquires distressed properties (at least some
of which will be among the 1,000 homes Bank of America recently pledged to
donate to non-profit organizations) and the Boot Campaign and Fairway provide the funds necessary to repair and
rehab the property, along with three years of financial counseling for the
veteran home owner.
Thaxton, a 15 year veteran of the mortgage business, told
MND that the endeavor was a natural one for her and for Fairway. “I am in a military town and I do a lot of VA
lending and work with a lot of military families. And because Fairway does home loans, it
seemed special to be able to give away a mortgage-free home.”
An early recipient
of a Fairway assisted home was Juan Castañeda, Jr., an Iraq War Veteran wounded
on August 31, 2006 in an ambush near Ad Dwar.
He suffered a fully collapsed left eardrum and other head injuries and
underwent four major surgeries. Thaxton
presented keys to his new home to Castañeda on August 26 during the 2nd
Annual Boot Ride and Rally in Hollywood. Several hundred bikers and the cast of
Sons of Anarchy joined in celebrating the event.
told attendees, “At Fairway, we’re dedicated to supporting all American troops,
both active military and veterans. Our deepest thanks go to Juan as well as the
Boot Campaign for giving us the opportunity to give back and for putting on
such an incredible event.”
Castañeda has made enormous sacrifices for our country, as have so many others
before him,” said Steve Jacobson, CEO of Fairway. “Juan’s strength and
perseverance in the face of his challenges are truly remarkable. It is stories
like his that have inspired Fairway to help American veterans fulfill their
dreams of home ownership. Juan’s new home is a reflection of the admiration,
gratitude and respect we have for all wounded warriors.”