After serving in the U.S. Army for 11 years, Staff Sgt. Matthew Andrews wanted to raise his family in his hometown of Kalispell, but four years ago, they made the difficult decision to move.
“The valley was so expensive,” Andrews said. “We couldn’t afford to live here. There wasn’t enough housing and rent was too high.”
But thanks to a collaboration between local development company Edge LLC and a Texas-based nonprofit organization, Operation Finally Home, Andrews now has a mortgage-free home in Kalispell, where he never wanted to leave in the first place.
About five years ago, while Andrews was recovering from career-ending injuries he sustained overseas in the Middle East, he and his wife filled out an application for a mortgage-free home through Operation Finally Home. They received a call about five years later asking if they were still interested.
Edge LLC will soon begin building a mortgage-free home for Andrews and his family.
More than a year ago, Edge LLC owner Layne Massie started working with Mark Delorme Jr. at Wintrust Mortgage in Kalispell to facilitate a housing project to help veterans. With Delorme’s help, Massie connected with Operation Finally Home, and the project began.
Established in 2005, Operation Finally Home has provided more than 200 custom-built, mortgage-free homes in more than 30 states to veterans and widows, and will soon provide the same services for first responders.
“They’re a great organization to work with,” Edge LLC Project Manager Wade Rademacher said. “They’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes finding the families. It was great to find one that used to live here and had to move, and they now have the opportunity to come back.”
With local financial, labor and material donations from subcontractors, all of the necessary supplies were acquired to build the Andrewses’ new home, which is planned for completion in about three months.
“I think our veterans are underserved when they come home,” Massie said. “Anything we can do to help with that … I don’t think this will come close to paying him for his service, but we’re gonna do what we can.”
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