(Update: Adding video, comments from EXIT Realty Bend)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Bend real estate business has joined a nationwide effort to help first responders and other local heroes save some money when they buy or sell their home. Through the program Homes for Heroes, EXIT Realty Bend has helped 23 heroes so far, from firefighters to law enforcement.
"I wanted to dig into it a little bit more and talk to Juana about it and found out that we're actually kind of related to the -- the companies are related," EXIT Realty Bend Sales Associate Heidi Drake said Thursday.
Owner and principal broker Juana Beede added, "Our Homes for Heroes head office is actually married to EXIT's head office. So it was like a perfect match made in heaven."
Homes for Heroes is a national nonprofit which helps firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, active military reserves and veterans, health care professionals and teachers with their real estate transactions.
Homes for Heroes is a network of real estate and mortgage specialists helping them save on their homes -- whether they're buying, selling or refinancing a home.
Drake was looking for a program to help veterans and came upon Homes for Heroes.
The partnership between EXIT Realty Bend and Homes for Heroes has been in the works for over a year.
Broker Shaunna Upvall-Parks said, "I was able to help first-time home buyers. He was a veteran and he'd been saving for a long time. They were finally able to buy a homem and I was able to give them a big, big check at the end from Homes for Heroes."
When these heroes buy or sell a home, they can receive a check from the organization. The Realtors can donate up to 30% of their commissions back to Homes for Heroes for what are called Hero Rewards.
Upvall-Parks said with the check, her clients were able to put the money toward a fence. EXIT Realty has donated about $115,0000 back to local heroes through the program.
Real estate agent Kelly Miller said, "I used to be a firefighter. I've been able to help fire EMS, law enforcement, nurses, teachers and some veterans so far. It's really an awesome way to give back to the community."
If you have any questions, EXIT Realty Bend holds a happy hour every third Thursday of the month at Legends Cider in la Pine from 5-7 p.m. and at Eurosports food carts in Sisters from 3-5 p.m.