An American flag waves proudly in front of an honored veteran’s home as he pulls his car into the garage with his wife. As they step out, the young couple is greeted by a frenzy of media waiting to catch their reaction as they are given the keys to their new house.
After serving his country for five years, veteran and former U.S. Army Spc. Dickson Daggi and his wife, Nikki Abo, received a mortgage-free home in North Las Vegas donated by Wells Fargo and the Military Warriors Support Foundation earlier this month.
“They’re angels,” Daggi said. “I wouldn’t be here without them. It’s humbling knowing that people still remember veterans.”
On April 1, Daggi and his wife were given the keys to the 1,800-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath house.
“Dickson has a heart of gold,” Abo said. “He is very humble and so deserving of this.”
Wells Fargo has homes obtained through foreclosure, according to Nancy Hamilton, vice president of community development for Wells Fargo in Nevada.
The bank donates homes to the foundation as part of its Homes4WoundedHeroes and Homes4GoldStars programs.
This donation is part of a $30 million commitment in property donations to veterans made by Wells Fargo in 2012 as part of its Military Affairs Program, which assists service members, veterans and their families by providing sustainable housing, career transition and customized financial education.
“Dickson is a determined and honorable man who served two tours in Iraq as an infantryman,” said Rocio Ramirez, events coordinator for the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
Since 2013, Wells Fargo has donated 110 properties worth more than $15 million to veterans.
The foundation awards mortgage-free homes to combat-wounded heroes who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
“The program was created to benefit wounded veterans who have displayed courage and valor throughout their careers,” Hamilton said. “It’s an honor for us to serve our members of the military. We want to help them meet their financial goals.”
Daggi, 32, received a Purple Heart after his Humvee was hit by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Iraq.
“My life flashed through my eyes,” Daggi said. “It was a very chaotic moment.”
As a result, he said he suffered traumatic brain injury, migraines and a broken back.
“I’ve always wanted to serve my country,” Daggi said. “My dad was in the military, so it’s in my blood.”
He first learned of his mortgage-free home during the Las Vegas Bowl game in December, where he was honored in front of a national audience. Daggi said it took approximately seven months to qualify for the home.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” he said. “It was very hard to absorb the news. I was crying. My wife had teary eyes. It was quite an experience.”
The Philippines-born man said he plans to live in the house with his wife and hopes to start a family soon.
In addition, the couple was awarded $20,000 worth of furniture courtesy of Wells Fargo.
“They’re doing great things for veterans,” Daggi said. “They helped not only change my life, but also my future kids’ lives. Now I can say that I belong here.”
Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at email@example.com or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @journalismsandy.