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Military couple receives mortgage-free home in Crestwood

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By Drew Nichter

Crestwood’s newest residents got a first look at their new home Friday.

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James and Amanda Calton did what any new homeowners do: opened the kitchen cabinets, envisioned where furniture would go, disagreed over who would get more closet space.

They also thanked Amanda Shaunessy over and over.

Shaunessy is a housing case worker with Homes on the Homefront, a program organized by Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that serves veterans and military families.

Homes on the Homefront works with banks that donate foreclosed homes.

The homes are cleaned up and given to active or retired military service members and their families mortgage-free.

The Caltons received the organization’s 106th donated home; the first in Kentucky.

James Calton said he was surprised he and his wife were chosen to receive a house. He doesn’t have a great story and he wasn’t wounded in combat.

But Calton does serve his country.

He spent a year in Iraq as an aviation maintenance phase team leader inspecting Apache helicopters. He currently is a member of 1st Army Division East.

Calton, 33, splits time between Fort Knox and Camp Atterbury in Indiana training soldiers who are preparing to deploy to combat areas.

Calton also helps care for his 70-year-old father, a 33-year Navy veteran who now suffers from diabetes and heart disease.

The Caltons previously rented a home in Bullitt County, about 45 minutes from James’ father in eastern Jefferson County.

“He needs help around the house,” James said. “He’s not a spring chicken anymore.”

Now in Crestwood, the couple is just a few minutes away.

Chase Bank in Crestwood donated the patio home to Homes on the Homefront. It is one of three national banks that work with the program.

Eligible applicants must be current military personnel or veterans with an honorable discharge who are not paying on a mortgage and do not have a felony record.

According to the program’s website, selected families must live in the homes for one to two years as a tenant of Operation Homefront.

Home recipients do not pay for a mortgage, but are responsible for property taxes, insurance and homeowners’ association fees.

They are also set up on a “transition plan” that requires routine inspections of the home, financial counseling and sufficient savings to maintain the property long-term.

Once the transition plan is fulfilled, the home is deeded to the family.

Email us about this story at: drew@oldhamera.com.