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Veteran surprised with service dog

Image Courtesy of WFMZ News.

Debra McCollum spent eight years serving in the Marines from 1980-1988. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (FIMC) knew they needed to do something for Debra. So they partnered with the American Warrior Initiative (AWI) to host an event in Debra’s honor in Philadephia, PA area. Along with this special event honoring this United States Marines Veteran, they also held a “bootcamp” for real estate and mortgage professionals.  The goal of the event was to help train the attendee’s how to exhibit excellence in handling the home-purchase process needs of Active Duty military, National Guard, Reserve, Coast Guard, Veterans and their families.

During her service, Debra sustained several disabilities from her activities in the Marines including in her right eye, hip and ear. To help her, Fairway and the AWI raised $10,000 to honor Debra by presenting her with a service dog, “Keno”.  The dog is a certified service dog from Custom Canines based in Madison, WI. Keno will be able to help Debra in her day-to-day life and was a very special gift because “The wait lists for service dogs are often so long that it can take six years for a veteran to get to the top and by the time they do, they rarely can afford the dog” according to Holly Harrar of KFMZ TV 69 News. After receive her dog, Debra noted that “She’s my lifesaver, that sums it up, she is my lifesaver!”

Debra McCollum and service dog

Debra McCollum and her service dog Keno, Image Courtesy of JAN WIRTH

Founded by Louise Thaxton and Sean Parnell, the The American Warrior Initiative is a non profit organization sponsored by FIMC. will be visiting the South Sound in Washington State, near JBLM in April 2019. “Part of the work that we do at the American Warrior Initiative is travel around the country and try to educate and inspire people to give back to our military,” said founder Sean Parnell. They also to help ease U.S. Veterans transition from military to civilian life. 

Co-Founder of VA the Fairway, Ethan Wilson says “I am proud to work for a company that does so much to honor those who sacrifice for our country. If I can help answer any questions you may have about the VA loan, please contact me. I have a fantastic team that includes Veterans to assist you in all your home loan options.”

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