“I remember waking up to news that the World Trade Center Twin Towers were attacked and watching in horror as the first, then second Tower plunged to the ground. News coverage continued and I was shocked to learn that America was attacked by terrorists. I found my American flag, went out to my mailbox and attached it so that it flew freely. Shortly after, a veteran walking down the road stopped by my flag, stood at attention and saluted it, then continued down the street. I knew at that time my life would change. I had been a mortgage loan officer for more than 11 years, but wanted to do more to serve my country as our soldiers were lining up by the hundreds to enlist in the defense of our country. Most of my family had served throughout the years and I wanted to help where I could.”
—Rachel Donovan, Legacy Mortgage, Albuquerque N.M.
From mortgages to budget training and credit counseling, Rachel Donovan from Legacy Mortgage in Albuquerque, N.M. has since helped about 3,000 servicemen and servicewomen over a 22-year lending career. Working at Kirtland Air Force Base, she has helped military borrowers all over the world. One of her most gratifying loans was for a woman who had missed some house payments and was afraid to tell her husband.
“After a few months passed,” said Rachel, “she became afraid to open her mail so she didn’t. One night during dinner, their doorbell rang. It was a man who told the husband that he was the new owner of the house and they had 30 days to buy the house from him or they would have to get out.”
The husband was shocked. Desperately needing to refinance, they started calling lenders and Realtors for help. One of them advised calling Rachel, saying, “If she cannot do it, it can’t be done.”
Rachel called the man who had purchased the house from the bank.
“I was disgusted with what he was charging them to buy it back,” she said, “making in excess of $10,000 for holding the loan for 30 days.”
Not sure she’d be able to refinance, Rachel was eventually able to build a profile and loan package that made sense for the lender and allowed them to approve the loan.
“That lady was so grateful, she sent me a Christmas card with pictures of her little girls and wrote, ‘These are the girls that didn’t lose their home because of you, I will always be thankful.’”
Volunteering with the JROTC at the local high schools led Rachel to join the local chapter of the Blue Star Moms, an organization that provides support for moms and their children serving in the military. Helping one family at a time is what it’s all about.
Are you a “Mortgage Hero” or know of anyone who might be? We want to hear from you if you've completed the FREE Military Family Housing Education Course as Mortgage Heroes deserve to be recognized for their outstanding service to America’s servicemen and servicewomen. Please send a short bio to MFHE Program Manager Beverly Frase at Beverly.Frase@USACares.org.