The last quarter of 2021 was filled with unique opportunities for Caliber Home Loans. It was also a period of incredible give-back across the board. From makeovers to honoring America’s heroes, it was a quarter to remember.
Early fall saw CHL sponsoring the Military Spouse Advocacy Network’s first leadership development program, with participants graduating in November. Upon completion of the four-month program, graduating military spouses earned a leadership certificate from Harvard University and the McChrystal Group, and micro-certifications in mental health allyship from Psych Hub. In 2020, Hiring Our Heroes released research indicating that employment was connected to mental health for military spouses. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing the unemployment rate for military spouses to skyrocket to over 40% from 23%, this program was a vital tool which directly impacted the military family.
Challenge coins have been an American military tradition for over a century. Though origin stories can vary, the most reliable one is that the tradition was started during World War I. According to Defense.gov, as the U.S. started building up its Army Air Service, many men volunteered to serve. One of those men was a wealthy lieutenant who wanted to give each member of his unit a memento, so he ordered several coin-sized bronze medallions to be made. The lieutenant put his own medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore around his neck. A short time later, his plane was shot down over Germany. He survived but was captured by a German patrol, who took all his identifiable items so he would have no way to identify himself if he escaped. What they didn’t take was the small pouch with the medallion.
After escaping to a nearby town, having the medallion saved his life – as it was the only form of identification he had left. Following his experience, it became a tradition for all service members to carry a coin with the unit information. A hundred years later, it has become a beloved tradition not just with the active military component but to those who work within the military community as well.
Caliber Home Loans gives military and veteran customers a beautifully designed challenge coin after each closing – more than 36,000 in 2021. One customer was so overwhelmed with the symbolism in the coin that he called to thank his lender and request an additional 150 coins. The intent was to give them out at an event in Virginia honoring Gold Star Families. To our military families, it’s more than just a coin.
This October, representatives from the Military Spouse Advisory Council attended multiple events in the military space. Megan Harless was the host and lead on the International Association of Movers panel for military families. There she showcased a video produced by CHL highlighting the challenges faced by the community during PCS season.
Jessica Manfre attended the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual conference. There she was a part of the Fort Leonard Wood chapter breakfast with congress, dinners and sat in on various panels. Through various networking opportunities, she shared the value in branches joining local AUSA chapters to put boots on the ground in support of America’s soldiers and their families.
Education was a hot topic this quarter as well. A seller market featured article in Military Families Magazine this October showcased the details and benefits of utilizing the VA Home Loan. The team was also featured in the UDT Seal Association’s magazine and e-blast. All articles specifically highlighted the work Caliber is doing to support military families and veterans. The Military Lending Team provided virtual or in-person education to over 1,000 industry professionals and 200 military spouses at Camp Lejeune in the fourth quarter alone.
November was a busy month for the team, as they received three Military Friendly © Awards! “These designations are a testament to Caliber’s commitment to honoring our country’s heroes in the work we do every day,” Sanjiv Das, Chief Executive Officer of Caliber Home Loans said in a statement. “We are committed to providing rewarding career opportunities for our veterans and to meeting the specific mortgage needs of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families.”
The team sponsored the Camp Lejeune Leadership Summit chats with the USO and was the co-title sponsor of the You’re Worth It Conference, which was attended in-person by 100 military spouses. Through the collaborative efforts of all organizations, the reach was substantial.
On November 10, 2021, the Military Lending Team once again hosted an extraordinary tribute to America’s heroes in honor of Veterans Day. The hour-long program featured a keynote conversation with veteran Green Beret Ryan Hendrickson. He shared his story of triumphing over an IED wound which almost took his leg. Not only did he refuse to accept the ending of his time as a soldier, but he also fought to be redeployed to Afghanistan. And he was – just over a year later – after undergoing grueling surgeries and therapy to reattach his leg. The story is chronicled in his book, Tip of the Spear.
The program also featured interviews with the Executive Director of the Green Beret Foundation, Brent Cooper. He too shared his experience as a Green Beret and his commitment to serve America’s special forces families through the nonprofit. Also highlighted was the CHL volunteer of the year, Linda Murray. It was an hour of inspiration and awe of our nation’s best.
In honor of Veterans Day, the Military Lending Team supported the Disabled American Veterans Annual Walk, Run, Roll and Ride. Military t-shirts were also sent to the Monterey, California branch in support of their Veterans Day Parade. Caliber was also a participant in the Veterans Advantage Veterans Day Panel discussion and sat in as a guest on the Mortgage Leadership Outlook Podcast, as well as the SHRED Show.
December didn’t just bring holiday cheer for Caliber! The month was filled with incredible give-back projects throughout the country. First, CHL teamed up with The Bautista Project and the Inspire Up Foundation to create blessing bags for homeless veterans across 10 different states. Barksdale Air Force Base was also given a special Christmas surprise for more than 50 military children in the area.
The Military Veteran Resource Group joined in on the fun, too. Through their collective efforts, 163 veterans’ tombs were honored with Wreaths Across America. They also worked with Operation Homefront to support a toy drive for military kids.
To cap off the incredibly generous month, the Military Lending Team donated 1,000s of swag items to the Marines of Camp Lejeune in Operation #GivingTuesdayMilitary. The event was sponsored by Inspire Up Foundation, the Robert Irvine Foundation and the Armed Forces Financial Network. Units of the base deployed to Afghanistan during the humanitarian crisis and troop draw-down were honored with a meal and Christmas cheer as a thank you for their sacrifices. The swag was a hit and much appreciated by the Marines.
As the Caliber Home Loans Military Lending Team prepares to begin a new year, the possibilities for brand-awareness, education and community support continue to grow and expand. We look forward to 2022 and all that we know it will bring.
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Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is a mortgage servicer registered with the Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services. If you are a customer whose property is located in the state of New York, you may file a complaint and obtain further information about Caliber Home Loans by contacting the New York State Department of Financial Services Consumer Assistance Unit at 1-800-342-3736 or by visiting the Department's website at www.dfs.ny.gov.