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Wounded Auburn-area Army veteran awarded free Las Vegas house

Afghanistan War vet Tyler Steinle travels to New York to accept ceremonial key at Jets game
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Christian Valley resident Tyler Steinle returned from a Jets game in New York this weekend with a new home in Las Vegas. An Army veteran of the Afghanistan War, Steinle was awarded the home during a timeout in Sunday’s New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium, weeks after he signed up for the chance at receiving a mortgage-free house with the non-profit Military Warriors Support Foundation. The San Antonio foundation is working with Chase Bank to place veterans who have been wounded in action into homes throughout the U.S. If Steinle remains in the house for three years and takes part in a financial mentoring program, he’ll be given the deed. Steinle – married and the father of two pre-school-age children – said Wednesday that he had heard about the possibility of finding a home through an old Army buddy in Texas, who had already benefited from the program. Steinle, 27, said he learned of the award Dec. 5 – about two weeks after he applied. On Friday, he was on his way to the Jets game with his wife, Ashley, to accept a giant key in front of Jets fans. By Tuesday, he was back in the rented Christian Valley home he has lived in for the past year, still amazed at a miraculous chain of events. “They’re renovating the house and we’ll be leaving in 60 to 90 days,” Steinle said. “We’re in the process of tying up loose ends and packing up.” Steinle grew up in Nevada County and served a 13-month tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Army Infantry’s 101st Airborne in 2008-09. A specialist E4, he was in a convoy that the Taliban was able to get close to with a vehicle painted to look like it was part of the Afghan military. “It was packed to the roof with propane and explosives,” Steinle said. “It hit our vehicle head-on.” Retiring with a leg injury as well as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and prolonged effects of a concussion from the attack, Steinle came home to the Auburn area where most of his family lives. Chase Bank, meanwhile, started a program this fall that will eventually place 1,000 veterans and their families in foreclosed, bank-owned homes. The Las Vegas house Steinle chose from several is a four-bedroom home measuring more than 2,000 square feet. It was valued at about $350,000 before housing prices dropped, he said. Chase Bank spokeswoman Eileen Leveckis said Wednesday that the home awards will be made through partners like Military Warriors Support Foundation. “We feel the men and women in the military protect our country every day and deserve special benefits for what they give to us,” Leveckis said. Steinle said the requirements were that he had to be a veteran from either the Iraq or Afghanistan campaigns and have been wounded in combat. Preference is being given to retired soldiers with a Purple Heart medal, he said. Recipients also cannot already own their own home. For Steinle and his family – which includes year-old son Bentley and 3-year-old daughter Kandra – the program has been a game changer. “Getting a mortgage-free home means we (both are taking post-secondary school classes in Roseville) can focus on our schooling,” Steinle said. “Other than getting my disability pay, it has been hard paying bills. There have been lots of bills. This is awesome and overwhelming. Everything’s happened so quickly.”