It's a hero's welcome for a local veteran and her family, as they receive a mortgage-free house in Chattanooga. Former Army Military Police Officers Melissa and Aaron Schafer welcomed visitors to their new mortgage-free home this morning. It is part of Operation Homefront. The nonprofit is dedicated to building strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive in the communities that they've worked so hard to protect.

Operation Homefront has given away over 600 homes nationwide, including 18 in Tennessee, and two in Hamilton County. Thanks to the nonprofit and Chase Bank, a deserving military family will be putting down their roots in Chattanooga.

It is home sweet home for the Schafer Family. They moved in to their three bedroom, two bathroom house two years ago, but as of now, it's mortgage free. “Means the world to me, most amazing thing that could ever happen to anyone and to have it happen to me, it is a huge blessing. Never could ask for anything more,” said Melissa Schafer, a United States Army Veteran.

The family applied for the home through Operation Homefront, a process that took years to complete. “Given the home to live in for two years, and within those two years we had to show growth, possibility, growth with our financial situation, then we can receive the home.”

The two Army Veterans were handed a giant blue key, beating out hundreds of other families for the mortgage-free home. “Social workers will go through that whole list of applicants and find the top 3 families and our CEO will get together and make a choice,” said President and CEO of Operation Homefront, John Pray.

The financial services firm, JP Morgan Chase donated the 160- thousand dollar house, so military families can enjoy retirement. “So they can thrive and not struggle to get by in the community they worked so hard to protect,” said Pray.

Operation Homefront has given away over 600 homes. That number now includes the Schafer family. “Medically retired, kids, have a great connection with the Chattanooga community. They were absolutely the right fit.”

A key to their new home, now a key to a new chapter in their life, “My house where I will always live, always a place for my kids, always a place for my grand kids, this will always be a wonderful blessing,” said Schafer.

The Schafer Family said the thing they are most excited about is being able to spend the holidays at the same house for the rest of their lives.

Cracker Barrel donated home decor for the family. 

For more information on Operation Homefront, click here.