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Iraq war vet buys first home in Arizona, thanks Unsung Heroes program

It’s been a long time coming, but Gus Montez is now finally living out his dream of being a home owner.

The Iraq war veteran, a beneficiary of That Real Estate Show’s Unsung Heroes program, moved into a brand new home in San Tan Valley last month — a move that might not have been possible without the deep discounts being offered to first responders like himself.

Valley Realtor and That Real Estate Show host Diane Brennan said it was an emotional and satisfying moment to watch Montez move into a property he could finally call his own.

“Helping people like Gus reminds us of why we got into the business,” Brennan said.

With interest rates in a good place for homebuyers right now, Montez said he thought the time was right for him to transition from renting to owning. Unfortunately, for him, it wasn’t as easy of a transition as he thought it would be when he tried to go it alone. That’s when he turned to the Unsung Heroes program, which he heard about as a longtime listener of the Valley’s KTAR News.

Montez said the program took “a ton of bricks” off his shoulders, adding that “it went really, really smooth.” He said Brennan took him to a number of homes in the bedroom community of San Tan Valley in northern Pinal County, which is where he had his heart set on staying. After several tries, Montez said they eventually “struck gold.”

Montez’s long road to home ownership actually came by way of some of the rocky roads he traveled in the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said he saw “thousands of homes,” which he said were more like shacks, and that he drew inspiration from talking to residents who took pride in their modest dwellings.

“Some would tell me that they were lucky because they owned them,” Montez said, adding that a question would cross his mind about when he would ever own his own “shack.”

That question was answered at the closing of his new home, which — with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and more than 2,000 square feet — turned out to be much more than a shack. Montez, 52, now works as a collision investigator with the Mesa Police Department and is looking forward to embarking on a new chapter of life as a homeowner with his son and fiancée, whom he plans to wed in November.

In partnership with Security Title and Nova Home Loans, Brennan said the Unsung Heroes program is a way to say “thank you” to people like Montez and other Valley first responders for all the work they do and sacrifices they’ve made to help protect communities.

Join Realtor Diane Brennan for That Real Estate Show every Sunday at 8 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM.