A realtor who is part of a program helping community heroes is getting some recognition himself in Jacksonville.
Mario Gonzalez enlisted in the Navy when he was 17 years old, and then served 24 years as a helicopter pilot.
“When I got out of the Navy, I just wanted to continue to serve,” Gonzalez recalled. “That’s why I’m in the real estate property management business now.”
It was a natural next step for Gonzalez to join Homes for Heroes, a program established after 9/11 to help first responders (i.e. firefighters and medical personnel), teachers, and military families when they buy, sell or refinance a home.
“We’re allowed to give that percentage of our commission back,” he explained. “It’s about 25% of our commission.”
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Gonzalez has become a top affiliate for Homes for Heroes, helping 1,100 community heroes buy and sell their homes.
Across the country, the program has helped 50,000 heroes – and it’s given back more than $100 million.
“That’s amazing to me, it’s very humbling,” Gonzalez said.
Heroes like first grade teacher Kristen Beasly, who stretches each dollar for her classroom.
“Finding things to decorate the classroom, of course I shop at Target’s dollar spot and Dollar Tree, but it is my money going into it,” she said.
Beasly recently sold her home to a military family with Gonzalez’s help.
“They’re so generous in giving up part of their commission for us,” she said. ”We decided if Mario is giving back to us, then we can help give back to the military,” she added.
With the extra money she received thanks to Gonzalez and the Homes for Heroes program, Beasly feels prepared for the future.
“That helped us pay off some debt and we already have a saving’s fund for when we buy our next house,” she pointed out.
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If you’re a local hero interested in Homes for Heroes, you can register on its website here.
All you need to do is fill out some contact information and the option you’re exploring. You may just find an agent like Gonzalez to guide you through the process.
”Every hero is just as important to us,” he emphasized.
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