Cody Hagerman and his wife Lauren were barely out of high school when they had their first child, Ayden, now in his teens. Cody wanted a stable career but also to serve his country. In 2008, he enlisted in the Army.
He expected to serve at least 20 years but after a deployment to Iraq from 2009-2010, and injuries sustained during training, which included breaking both of his feet, he decided in 2014, “to hang up the boots.”
The family moved back to the Vero Beach, Florida, because both he and Lauren grew up in the area and the majority of their family is there. He works for his dad’s general contracting business and renovates houses but as housing market prices have increased, Cody has not been able to realize his own dream of being a homeowner.
He and Lauren have talked about moving somewhere else but their roots in the community are deep. Their children—Ayden, Carlee, who will be 13 in December, and Gemma, 10—all want to stay in their schools and with their friends. Plus, Cody hopes to take over his dad’s business in the future and he has created strong bonds with the staff at his local VA, where he is treated for PTSD.
Cody and Lauren were very familiar with Operation Homefront, having utilized the Back-to-School Brigade and Holiday Meals for Military programs in the past.
But it was a close friend who grew up with Cody in Florida who encouraged him to check out Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program. Cody’s friend William Robbin was deeded a Texas home through the program. He helped Cody fill out the application after Cody found a home available in Vero Beach. Cody and his family were “beyond excited” when they were accepted into the program.
“My youngest is already trying to save her money to buy decorations for her room,” he said
As part of HOTH, the family will receive customized financial counseling to build savings, reduce debt and learn home ownership skills. Upon graduation from the program, Operation Homefront will deed the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, donated by Wells Fargo, to the family, mortgage free.
“We want donors to know how sincerely thankful we are for the opportunity,” he said. “And, giving us the financial leeway to now get ourselves out of debt and give our kids a forever home.”