Every Veterans Day, tens of thousands of people share words of thanks and gratitude to our nation’s Veterans on social media.
The most common is one that Veterans often hear: “Thank you for your service.”
While those words are genuine and well-intentioned, Veterans United Home Loans wanted to find a way to make them mean more. Bent on turning words into action, the company launched a surprise campaign on Veterans Day to take those messages of thanks and transform them into donations toward paying off Veterans’ mortgages.
On Veterans Day, Veterans United contributed $25 for every “thank you” tweet it could track, keeping a running tab at MakeItMeanMore.com. The campaign resulted in $2,273,575, helping to pay off the mortgages of 11 inspiring Veterans, including:
- Two formerly homeless Veterans, one of whom moved into a homeless shelter on Veterans Day seven years ago
- An Army Veteran whose family lost everything in a house fire on Christmas
- A cancer survivor who battled significant medical debt to become a homeowner
As the day rolled on and the messages poured in, the company surprised the unsuspecting homeowners with the news, with help from actors and longtime Veteran supporters Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna, and J.R. Martinez. Visitors can watch each of the donation reveal videos on the campaign website.
“Paying off the debt of those we’re forever indebted to felt like the perfect way to make ‘thank you’ mean even more this Veterans Day,” said Kris Farmer, an Army Veteran and chief marketing officer at Veterans United. “These Veterans have sacrificed so much to safeguard the American Dream for all of us. To be able to turn the nation’s gratitude into life-changing action gets us a bit closer to expressing just how thankful we are for all they’ve done.”
Thousands of Twitter users were equally surprised to find that their simple message of thanks helped a Veteran get closer to being mortgage-free. Veterans United tracked more than 90,000 tweets on Veterans Day, replying to as many individual messages as they could. The Veterans United team plans to continue responding to messages through Wednesday.
“This year, we’re paying off home loans with the #MakeItMeanMore campaign,” Farmer said. “In the years to come, we hope to find new ways to make ‘Thank you for your service’ mean even more. Our nation’s Veterans and military families deserve both words and actions that reflect all that they’ve given us.”
Based in Columbia, Mo., Veterans United is the nation’s largest VA purchase lender, a distinction it’s held since 2016. NMLS 1907, An equal opportunity lender. A VA approved lender, not endorsed or sponsored by any government agency.