Wear Red Report: Vets Helping Vets
When returning home from service, the transition back into a normal life is not easy for many veterans.
A local branch of a mortgage company is trying to help. It holds special seminars aimed at helping veterans get the most of their benefits when purchasing a home.
One local broker who is a Vietnam vet himself is doing all he can to help other vets make that transition.
"My heart for the veterans really started when I got home and and got settled into real estate," said Scott Kiehn. "For our vets it's tough to be a veteran in United States these days."
Kiehn is has been a broker in the Tri-Cities now for nearly 20 years.
He said all too often veterans looking to buy homes are sometimes taken advantage of and unaware of all their benefits.
"Unfortunately a lot of lenders pushed the VA program aside because they think it's too much of a hassle or it's too hard to do," said Kiehn. "But it's their GI Bill of Rights. It's a right that they've earned."
Kiehn said he's made it his mission to go above and beyond for veterans, making sure they're using their VA home loan benefit under the to GI Bill.
Fairway Independent Mortgage teamed up with a non-profit to help vets by giving away mortgage-free homes.
Last month the local Fairway branch helped award war veteran, Charles Aikala, with his free house in Pasco.
The company also provides a training class, that Kiehn took himself, for local real estate agents to learn how to better serve vets.
"A lot of vets don't use their VA benefits, for example my dad has never used his benefits. I don't know why, he just never has," said Gregg Van Steenkist, Fairway Branch Manager. "It all comes down to the loan officers and the real estate agents need to better educate the public and the veterans in what the benefits are."
"If there's anybody that we should put boots on the ground for here in America to serve, it's the veteran," said Kiehn.