Wells Fargo, United Rentals and Operation Homefront Award Homes to Atlanta Military Families

Some deserving fathers received a well deserved early Father’s Day present last weekend.

Operation Homefront teamed up with United Rentals and Wells Fargo to award five mortgage-free homes to military families in the Atlanta Metro Area, three Atlanta residents were in the group of recipients.

It was the largest donation of its kind for San Antonio-based Operation Homefront or Wells Fargo. Operation Homefront picked the four Army soldiers and one Marine. Wells Fargo is donating the former foreclosures, valued at $845,000 when ready to move in, as part of a $30 million commitment to give bank-owned properties to veterans. United Rentals is making a contribution for other expenses.

The houses were awarded by surprise at Stone Mountain Park.

“It’s awesome — surprising,” said Army Sergeant Ricardo Bailey. Bailey served in Afghanistan and met his wife Archagul while he was deployed there. She was a civilian Army employee, working as a barber. She is a native of Kyrgyzstan. They will be first-time homeowners. “I’m just tearful and happy,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the house. I’ll take very good care of it.”

Here were the military families with Atlanta ties.

Joseph Wallace, Army Specialist

Joe Wallace’s decision to join the military was a pretty easy one for him to make. Born on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. to two military parents, Joe wanted to serve his country and follow in his parents’ footsteps.

Joe served at Ft. Benning, Ga., Ft. Gordon, Ga., and Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. While on active duty, Joe would suffer injuries that would eventually lead to his medical discharge.

Since his departure from the military, Joe, his wife Brooke, and their three children have moved back to Juno, Alaska, where Brooke accepted a position at a local hospital. The family would love to move back to Georgia to be closer to family. The family’s possessions are still currently in a storage unit in Atlanta, just one of the many reasons for the excitement that will be expressed when they receive word that they are to be awarded a mortgage-free home in Lawrenceville, Ga.

“I hope to have a home one day to raise my children in,” said Joe, “a place where they can settle in and be comfortable, know it is theirs, and continue to educate and nurture them into becoming successful and responsible adults and parents one day.”

Corey Bowen, Marine Corps Sergeant

Corey Bowen was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He always wanted to serve as a role model for his two younger brothers. Shortly after high school, Corey enlisted in the Marine Corps to be that role model in their lives and to serve his country at the same time.

Serving for 10 years, Corey performed primary scout duties as a rifleman. Corey would deploy twice in his career, once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. While deployed, Corey would suffer injuries that will eventually lead to his medical retirement in June of 2013.

Corey, his wife De’Trese, and their four children currently live in the Operation Homefront Village in San Diego, California. The rent free living during his transition out of the service has helped allow the family
to get themselves back on track on focus on what they would like to do in the future.

“I will be enrolling in school soon to obtain my bachelor’s in Business or Human Resources,” said Corey. “My plan for the future is to join the workforce in the Human Resources field specializing in organizational & employee development or staffing. If given the opportunity I would also like to explore the Employee and Labor relations field.”

Corey’s family lives all over the Atlanta area, and he has wanted to move back home for a while. The Bowen family is currently unsure of what the future may hold, but will be very excited to hear that they were selected to receive a mortgage-free home in Lawrenceville, Ga. from Operation Homefront, United Rentals, and Wells Fargo.

Ricardo Bailey, Army Sergeant

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Ricardo Bailey moved to the United States in 1997, at the age of 27. He lived in the Bronx, N.Y. for a period of time. After witnessing 9/11 from the city, Ricardo knew that he wanted to serve, but it took him a couple of years to do so. He enlisted in the Army in 2006 as a fueler.

During his six year career, Ricardo deployed once to Afghanistan. While deployed he would suffer injuries that would eventually lead to his medical retirement.

Since his retirement, Ricardo, his wife Archagul, and his mother Shirley have been living in an apartment in Decatur, Ga. His children are currently finishing school in Staten Island, N.Y.

Ricardo has looking forward to spending more time as a family in upcoming months, and what a better way to do so than enjoying that time in a mortgage-free home. The family has been selected to receive a home in Woodstock, Ga. through the Homes on the Homefront program.

Rick LImpert is an Atlanta-based writer that covers events, sports, and technology in and around Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter @RickRoswell.

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