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Family Story

Family of Six Grateful for Home

By Operation Homefront

February 16, 2024

Family of Six Grateful for Home During Transition out of Military 

When Anthony “Tony” Lancaster began his military service with the Army National Guard at age 17, he remembered the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation.  

“I wanted to do whatever I could to keep things like that from happening again,” said Tony, who went active duty in 2009 after deploying to Iraq with the Guard in 2008. “I loved serving my country.” 

He envisioned retiring after 20 years or more. Being medically retired in July 2022 heaped stress on him and his wife, Ada, also an Army veteran. The couple have four sons, ages 6, 5, 2, and 1.   

Tony lives with traumatic brain injury from a training accident and PTSD as well as back and knee injuries he describes as “the kind of stuff that goes with the military.”  

Still, he didn’t expect the medical review board to find him unfit for service. 

“By the time they said they were going to separate him, it had already been a year,” Ada remembers. “Once he got his orders, he had 26 days” to transition to civilian life. “It was panic.”  

Finding an apartment on short notice and in a tight housing market proved difficult. Tony hadn’t yet lined up a job, and his retirement pay didn’t meet the minimum income requirement for renting.  

The family’s worries were eased after they learned of their approval for Operation Homefront’s Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) program. The couple applied for a house in San Antonio, Texas, which was near Ada’s family and convenient to medical care and for the couple’s two middle sons, who have autism.  

Thanks to its generous donors, Operation Homefront has served military families for 20 years through a range of programs designed to help overcome financial hardships. The goal is to help families build stronger, more secure futures by preventing short-term struggles from becoming chronic problems.  

Military families participating in the THV program live rent-free for as long as three years while working with a designated caseworker and financial counselor to create realistic financial, educational, and employment goals. Since its start in 2018, THV has saved military families almost $550,000 in rent. Nine families have completed the program, which currently has 25 houses throughout the country. 

Tony expressed his family’s gratitude to Operation Homefront and its donors.  

“This house is helping with one of the biggest struggles we had in leaving the military,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way of helping military families out than helping with housing when they’re moving to a new area and making the transition to civilian life.”  

The Lancasters plan to use their time in the THV house to build savings, pay down debt, improve credit scores, and learn about the home-buying process.  

“I can’t think of a better way of helping military families out.” – Tony Lancaster, Army veteran

“The house is amazing,” Ada said in late July, just after she and the boys moved in. Tony will join them when he completes out-of-state training for a job maintaining solar panels, wind turbines, and cellular phone towers.  

Through tears, Ada said she didn’t know where her family would be without the home and the support of Operation Homefront, which she follows on social media.  

The Lancasters initially slept on air mattresses while staying in the home of Ada’s mother. Ada’s brother, sister, and nephew also live with her mom, and space was tight with 11 people living there. 

The family expected to be without a place of their own in San Antonio for as long as a year.  

During his military service, Tony achieved the rank of sergeant first class and worked as a paralegal for a judge advocate general.  

Ada worked as an information technology specialist during her three years of service and earned the rank of specialist. She separated while expecting her second child.  

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