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Family Story

Veteran Looks to Future with Forever Home

By Operation Homefront

February 23, 2024

Army Veteran Looks to Her Children’s Future with Forever Home 

With baby daughter Rylee due to arrive in weeks, if not days, Army veteran Cheryl Davis did what many expectant moms do: She nested. Only her version of getting her home ready for the baby involved moving into a new house. 

The mom and her 14-year-old son, Rasheem, settled into a house in Columbia, South Carolina. Rylee joined them a couple of weeks later.  

Cheryl is happy to have a home in the city where she was born and raised. She chose to stay there to be near family when she was medically retired from the military in 2017 after 13 years of service.  

The Davis family’s new home is part of Operation Homefront’s Permanent Homes for Veterans program (PHV), and the house is made possible through the nonprofit’s partnership with Chase Bank.  

“This is a dream come true,” Cheryl said. “They’re like fairy godmothers making Cinderella feel beautiful again.” 

Through the program, which began in 2012, qualified military families live mortgage-free in a home for one to two years while increasing savings, building credit, reducing debt, and learning about homeownership. When they successfully complete the program, they receive a mortgage-free deed to the house. 

In the past 10 years, Operation Homefront has deeded almost 700 homes to military families that completed the PHV program, representing more than $100 million in property value.  

“It’s an investment that won’t just benefit me. I can pass it down to my children.” 

For now, Rasheem is happy to have his own room. Mother and son rented a one-bedroom loft after moving out of Cheryl’s father’s house. They moved into a bonus room in his house after Cheryl divorced.  

She took a job with the Social Security Administration while completing her bachelor’s degree. She graduated from Columbia College in December 2021 with her bachelor’s in educational studies. 

Her goal is to apply her degree and her love for numbers to help children build a strong foundation in math. Cheryl sees it as another way of serving. 

“Service has always been in my heart,” she said. 

Cheryl joined the military in 2007 at age 17.  A childhood trauma survivor, she left home and high school and earned her GED. After attending a job-training program, the only jobs available for her as a teen were in fast food.  

She moved back home and worked at a fast-food restaurant. 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making possible something I couldn’t fathom. I feel so seen and appreciated.” – Sgt. Cheryl Davis, Army veteran

“One day, I decided the military would get me away from home, and I could see new things,” she said. “The Army called back first.” 

After working four years in transportation logistics and being deployed to Iraq for eight months, Cheryl separated from the service for a couple of years before joining the reserves.  

When Rasheem was a toddler, she was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. He was 6 years old when she was deployed to Kuwait for 10 months. 

Cheryl, who lives with PTSD and hip pain, said she is excited about becoming a homeowner and is eager to learn more home maintenance.  

“I’m not afraid of a toolbox,” she said. “I’ve always liked learning and doing projects, and I like that (Operation Homefront) wants us to become proficient and successful homeowners.” 

She foresees financial independence, and she looks forward to that. 

“I’m living within my means now, but everybody can do better with finances,” Cheryl said, adding that she has repaired her credit from lapses when she was younger. “It as low as it could go.”   

Now, she can build savings for emergencies. 

“This will allow me to have more financial stability so when something arises, I’m not starting at square one to save up for the next big thing,” she said.  

Cheryl expressed gratitude for Operation Homefront and its donors. 

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