A presentation of three keys changed lives Friday. The wives of three fallen Fort Campbell soldiers gathered at W.O. Smith School of Music in Nashville as they were given newly refurbished homes, free of charge.
"I know when my husband joined the military, a big thing for him was if, God forbid, something happened to him, his family be taken care of," said Luisa Vargas, sitting up on stage with children Nathaniel, Lucas and Olivia.
In November 2010, Vargas's husband, Spc. Anthony Vargas, was killed by an explosive when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan. In June of the same year, Spc. Charles 'Scott' Jirtle, Spc. Blaine Redding and three other soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a buried roadside bomb.
"It's just knowing that our husbands' sacrifices weren't in vain," said Vargas. "They say, 'it's the least we can do.' Honestly, they don't have to do anything for us, and they do."
The wives of all three fallen soldiers were given the keys through a donation by Bank of America and their partnership with the Homes for our Troops organization.
"I tell everybody I know he is smiling in heaven right now," said Nikki Redding. "I can tell you one thing, he loved me more than anything in the world. I knew that the day he stepped out to go to deployment. This, I know, has made him so proud."
"You get to have your kids write on the wall; Kenziy 2, Kenziy 7, Kenziy 14," said Savannah Jirtle, referring to 2-year-old daughter Kenziy. "It's just going to be incredible to have those memories in your house forever."
As Lucas Vargas clutched tight to a Valentine in one hand and a key in the other, mom Luisa Vargas said that key goes to much more than just a house but to a secure future for her family.
"I can save money for our children's college," said Vargas. "It means so much. It means so much to know that my kids are always going to be taken care of. That's the most I could ask for, the most Anthony could ask for. For him, family was everything. His children were everything."
Bank of America officials said they're making up to 1,000 mortgage-free properties available for the families of members of the military and first responders.
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