Veteran, family receive mortgage-free home in Macon thanks to non-profit

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – One veteran and his family are now the proud owners of a house in Macon thanks to a California based non-profit. 

Ignacius Flemister says when he signed up to be part of the U.S. Navy, he had no idea he’d have an opportunity to have a house in his name, mortgage free. 

It’s one family’s piece of paradise.

Flemister and his wife and kids have a place they can call home for good. 

"The word happy is an understatement," Ignacius says. 

He isn’t a man of many words. Neither are his wife, Siah, or his son, Nelson. His daughter Shiloh says enough. 

After moving all around the world, the Flemisters have a house in Macon. The California based non-profit VAREP, or Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, helped make it happen. 

"First of all, I love the community. I love the people. We were welcomed here warmly. Secondly, it’s more relaxing and it’s a better place to raise a kid. There’s not too many distractions," Ignacius says. 

They partner with Bank of America to give thousands of families a key to rehabilitated home. 

"I think to date we’ve given about 1900 homes to service people. Hopefully, we’ll continue. I think we’re going to continue this into the future," Whit Evans, a senior vice president at Merrill Lynch’s Macon branch says. 

"A home to call your own mortgage free. It means more than the world. It’s very appreciated," Siah says. 

Representatives say the pleasure is theirs for the time servicemen and women sacrifice for the country. 

"The main thing that I want to express is our gratitude for him and his family and everything that they’ve been through. Without folks like that I don’t think any of us would be here today," says Evans. 

The Flemisters are excited and ready to start the next chapter of the rest of their lives. 

"Pop a bottle of champagne in there," Siah says. 

Bank of America started the program three years ago. Once the Flemisters settle in, Ignacius says they’re going to work on the backyard and make their own space to relax. 

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.