BROOKLYN VETERAN OF IRAQ WAR AND HIS FAMILY RECEIVE RENOVATED HOME 'FREE AND CLEAR'
ADDISON, Mich. (AP) — The sound of their child's laughter filled their new house, echoing through the empty rooms as Eric Daggs and his family walked through it for the first time
Daggs, 27, along with his wife, Chelsea, 28, of three years and their 2-year old son, Carter, received a new house in Addison donated by Bank of America and the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
On Wednesday, April 24, they walked into their new house for the first time and were handed the keys.
"It is amazing. It is beautiful," Chelsea Daggs told the Jackson Citizen Patriot ( http://bit.ly/11FHihu ). "Thank you so much to everyone: Bank of America, the Military Warriors Support Foundation and family and friends who helped us pack last minute."
The Daggs are moving to Addison from a house they rent in Brooklyn, the area where Chelsea Daggs grew up.
Bank of America Michigan and the Military Warriors Support Foundation partnered up to help veterans receive homes "free and clear."
Scott Ward, Bank of America consumer market manager, said the house fell into foreclosure in May 2012. It was put up for sale through Century 21 in Jackson before Bank of America decided to donate it instead. The Military Warriors Support Foundation decides which veteran will receive the newly renovated house. So far, 2,000 houses have been donated, with 100 donated houses in Michigan.
"We have had three (veterans move into a home) in Michigan so far, and it's a really cool, powerful event," Ward said. "It feels great. We are one of the largest lenders in the country, and this is a way we can give back and help (a veteran and their family) find a forever home."
Eric Daggs joined the U.S. Army National Guard in 2004. He was deployed to Iraq in September 2006 and was off active duty in August 2007.
Daggs said he was in Baghdad as an Army infantryman, and his mission was to train the security force. Aside from that, he said he did "infantry grunt work," looked for weapon caches and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
During his tour, he was a first responder for a Black Hawk helicopter crash where there were no survivors. He helped secure the area and locate the man responsible for shooting down the Black Hawk.
"That night, the unit who came to relieve us, they hit an IED," Daggs said. "Then we had to secure that site."
He returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder and now is a full-time father to his son. Chelsea Daggs graduated from Jackson Community College with her degree in nursing Saturday, April 27.
As he walked through the front door of his new house, Eric Daggs was holding Carter. Both wore wide smiles.
"I was speechless, my gut dropped," Eric Daggs said about when he first walked through the door. "Seeing him react to this is the best part. I am glad with what they (Bank of America and Military Warriors Support Foundation) are doing. Not everyone gets an opportunity like this."
The Daggs learned about being selected for the house the first week of April.
"It is unreal," Chelsea Daggs said. "My favorite part is it is ours. This is the perfect place to build our family and start a new life."
Built in 1880, the house has been renovated, and Doug DeMott with Century 21 said the house was recently painted and carpeted and new appliances were installed.
"This is a good thing for them," DeMott said. "It's a good 'Thank you' for him serving our country."
The only thing the Daggs want to add to their new home is a fence in the backyard so Carter and their two Chihuahuas and German short-hair can play.
"This could not have gone to better kids," said Arliss Bones, Chelsea Daggs' mother. "They are much deserving. They picked the right three people."
Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, http://www.mlive.com/jackson
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