MANATEE -- Tony Barrett got the idea for Heroes Welcome Home after working with a disabled veteran who had been turned down for a home loan.
The veteran, who pre-qualified for the loan, had already paid for a home inspection and appraisal before being told he didn't qualify.
Barrett decided to form a nonprofit to help veterans who recently returned from America's wars in the Mideast as they seek to reintegrate into the civilian world and buy a home.
Barrett, a real estate broker and U.S. Army veteran, said the goal of Heroes Welcome Home is to provide 3 percent of the purchase price of homes for returning vets.
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That is an ambitious goal for a new nonprofit, which recently received 501(c3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.
Specifically, Heroes Welcome Home could help with the appraisal, building inspection, survey and associated closing costs.
"We don't have a whole lot of money," Barrett said, adding the organization held a couple of fundraisers, including a Heroes Night Out at the St. Petersburg World of Beer.
The Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota reached out to Heroes Welcome Home to benefit from its Nov. 11 Veterans Day golf tournament.
"They were looking for a veteran-related group," Barrett said. "The ball just started rolling. We are hoping to sponsor some veterans who otherwise couldn't play."
Vincent Overmyer, vice president of Heroes Welcome Home, said the concept seemed "extremely honorable" to him and offered an opportunity to give back.
All officers of Heroes Welcome Home are unpaid volunteers. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, none of the real estate agents at Barrett's company participate in the program.
For more information about Heroes Welcome Home and the golf tournament benefit, visit heroeswecomehomefl.com or email tbarrett67@ yahoo.com.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.