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Two F-15 jets from nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force base streaked across the sky, creating a fitting start to a ceremony honoring a wounded Army veteran, who received keys to a mortgage-free home.
PNC Bank and the Military Warriors Support Foundation donated the home to Former Master Sgt. Michael Levine, who was wounded during his second tour of Iraq in 2005. Levine is a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army and the Iowa Army National Guard. He received the Purple Heart and many other commendations for his service.
The home donation event was held Nov. 7. Police, local dignitaries and PNC executives escorted the family, who toured the renovated house for the first time. The four-bedroom, two-bath house is located in Stantonsburg, about an hour southeast of Raleigh.
“We have our freedom today because of your sacrifice and your family’s sacrifice,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president of Eastern Carolinas, in opening remarks. “Welcome home.”
With that, Hansen handed over the keys.
A visibly moved Levine said he and his family are filled with gratitude. “I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “We are overjoyed by everything.”
He also thanked his new neighbors for coming out. “We are so grateful,” said Jenna Levine, his wife. The Levines moved from Texas to start their new life in North Carolina.
The event marked the fourth time in as many years that PNC and the Military Warriors Support Foundation joined forces to donate a mortgage-free home to a wounded hero through the foundation’s Homes4WoundedHeroes program. Since 2011, the foundation has awarded nearly 800 mortgage-free homes to qualified combat-wounded veterans.
This is the first time PNC has donated a home in North Carolina. PNC previously has donated homes to deserving veterans in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Atlanta. “It is the right way to honor service men or women who became injured due to the execution of their duty in defense of their country,” said Cathy Grover, a PNC human resources executive.
In late October, more than 30 PNC employees converged on the house for two days to clear brush, pull weeds and plant trees and bushes. “We wanted this house to look as beautiful as possible for this special family,” said Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, client and community relations director of Eastern Carolinas.
One neighbor was so moved by the work that she dropped off a lunch of baked ham, cabbage and potatoes, thanking the employees and noting her late son had served in Afghanistan.
The night after the key ceremony, a video taken at the event was shown at PNC’s annual Military Appreciation football game at N.C. State University in Raleigh. The crowd of more than 50,000 fans gave the Levines a standing ovation when they were introduced.
For the Levine family, it was truly a hero’s homecoming.
Learn more about PNC’s commitment to veterans »
“A house is an asset,” said Kathy Feeney, executive advisor, Military Warriors Support Foundation. “A home is love.”
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