News - Helping to make Paradise home again
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Coming together to rebuild a community after a devastating fire.
To build a home for Beckie
In 2018, Paradise, California, was burned in the “Camp Fire” — one of the most destructive and deadliest wildfires in the state’s history.
Two years later, we arrived to partner with several nonprofit organizations to inspire hope within the community. You could still smell the smoke.
The goal: help make Paradise home again to those who lost their livelihoods in this devastating fire, including Beckie Portlock — an 84-year-old woman who lost everything.
Just seven months before the Camp Fire, Beckie spent everything she had to purchase her first home in Paradise. Since the fire, she’s been living in a trailer provided by FEMA.
Joining forces to build back
The Academy Mortgage Colorado team was one of 16 organizations to unite with Love Builds, an organization that uses volunteer efforts along with donations to build homes for fire survivors to move in with no out-of-pocket costs.
"Through our shared mission, we took action to extend our support to a community that’s given so much to the people who have loved and cherished their lives here."
Academy Mortgage Colorado Regional Sales Leader
Carrying on our family tradition
Academy Mortgage started as a family-owned company. We still are 30+ years later. From the day we opened our doors, our teams have always viewed giving back as a responsibility. And, over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the importance of why we do what we do — Inspiring Hope.
"So, I really thought that we would inspire hope for people in the community, but what I found is that they have inspired more hope for me. It changes the way you look at things. It’s really…indescribable."
A remarkable energy
When our first group of 50 volunteers showed up, we were ready to dig in and get to work. We were a little overwhelmed — not by the work that needed to be done, but by the welcoming we received from the community.
Over a two-week period — and continuing to this day — the Academy Mortgage team members helped to build a new home for Beckie and seven other families. In addition, we’ve built over 50 planter boxes, picnic tables, and storage sheds for local schools and families in need. And we learned a lot along the way.
"It’s so humbling, you can’t describe it. You have to experience it. There’s no amount of commission that can fill your heart the way doing this project can fill your soul. It’s been like nothing else."
The rebuilding efforts will continue for as long as we’re able to help. Because everyone deserves a home, and our purpose is simple: we exist to make homeownership a reality for as many people as possible.
"Why they picked me, I don’t know…but I feel so honored that I’m getting this house…I appreciate it so much. It’s a dream come true."