Updated: November 11, 2020 07:33 PM
Created: November 11, 2020 06:35 PM
It isn't every day you get a video call from actor Gary Sinise. It isn't every day you find out your home mortgage has been paid off. For Navy veteran Bill Day, the day he got both of those is one he will never forget.
Day is one of 10 veterans who had their mortgages completely paid off by Veterans United Home Loans in honor of this Veterans Day.
NewsChannel 13 was the first to speak with Day after the news broke.
"In that moment how did you feel," asked reporter Jacquie Slater.
"It wasn't real. Like it's, like, like now I know how when people win the lottery, and they're like, 'Oh, my God.' You know, this is like winning the lottery to me," said Day.
Day enlisted in the Navy when he was just 18 years old and right out of high school. He served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and also spent time in Mexico and Central America. Now a single dad with four kids he always puts the kids needs before his own.
"He continues to try to make the world a better place, and he does it at the basis of giving up a lot of his own things that he's earned through life, but he gives them up to try to help family, to help others and it just really spoke volumes to us that he deserved a hand up," said Pam Swann, VP and National Military Relations Director at Veterans United.
Bill says he had always dreamed of homeownership but it didn't become a reality until two years ago when he was able to get a VA loan and purchase a property in Colonie. He and his children moved in right before Christmas in 2018.
Since moving in Bill has made several improvements including finishing the basement. On one of the walls a family friend painted one of the Navy ships Bill spent time on while serving.
When asked about his time served Bill says it's a combination of mixed emotions. He says he would do it again in a heartbeat and often wishes he had stayed in the Navy for a full 20 years.
Veterans United says the mortgage payoffs are part of their #MakeItMeanMore Veterans Day Campaign. Every time someone tweets "Thank you for your service" Veterans United contributes $25 to the mortgage funds.
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