Riley Oakes, a Marine Corps veteran, and his wife have already settled into their new home thanks to Operation Homefront, an organization that helps military families transition back to civilian life.
On Saturday, the Oakes officially got the key to their new house in Crowley thanks to a partnership between Operation Homefront and Pillsbury.
"It’s a beautiful home," Oakes said. "It’s great for our family. We have a 2-year-old, Austin, right now, and then we have another one on the way in August.
Oakes served four years in the Marine Corps. He was medically discharged because of a rare skin disease and is now studying to become an accountant.
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"For us, to be able to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters in arms, it’s an indescribable feeling," said Candace Jules, a fellow veteran and a Housing Caseworker with Transitional Homes for Veterans Program. "I never get tired of it."
Jules helped the Oakes family with the process of getting their new home.
They are the third military family that has gotten help with rent-free housing in the neighborhood.
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The other families, bonded by shared sacrifice, welcomed them during the celebration.
“This military thing, it doesn’t matter what branch you hear," Oakes said. "It’s a part of the struggle. You embrace the suck is what it’s called. These people, I can relate to them, and I’ve never even spoken to them."
For these military families, there’s no place like home.
Operation Homefront said there are more plans in the future to connect military families with rent-free homes.