WARNER ROBINS -- Probably not many homeowners have moved into their new home the same day they saw it for the first time.
That’s what happened to Iraq veteran Myrna Segui and her husband, Edgardo, on Tuesday. They were the winners of a renovated home donated by Bank of America and the Nehemiah Corp. in an essay contest organized by EXIT Success Realty’s Blair Myers Team.
The contest was open to local veterans or active-duty military members. Segui, who served four years in the Air Force, was notified July 29 she had won. However, she wasn’t told the location of the house until Tuesday morning.
She, her husband, their 2-year-old son, and friends and family showed up with a loaded U-Haul trailer, ready to move in.
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“At first, I didn’t believe it,” Segui said about getting the news she had won. “This is not something that happens every day. When it actually sunk in, we were so happy and excited.”
The house is on Kensington Drive near Northside Middle School. The only thing she knew about it until Tuesday was that it was a three bedroom, two bath house. But she liked what she saw.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s awesome. It’s the right size.”
She joined the Air Force in 2000 and served in security forces, although never at Robins Air Force Base. She was deployed to Iraq and said that was partly to blame for her developing post-traumatic stress disorder. With that and other health issues she developed while serving, she said she left after four years and listed as a 100 percent disabled veteran.
Because of that, she was able to live in the military housing area in Warner Robins. They moved here about a year ago because her parents live here. A native of Puerto Rico, she gives private Spanish lessons.
Blair Myers said more than 40 entries were submitted for the contest, which asked veterans and military members to tell their story and how service had impacted them, good or bad. Myers said many entries described problems people had encountered as a result of military service, but he said what he liked about Segui’s entry was how she overcame her problems.
“She really took that, applied it to her life and grew in a new way to become a better person and offer more,” he said.
Bank of America sometimes sells foreclosed homes through the Nehemiah Corp. to veterans at reduced costs. Sometimes it gives a house to a veteran outright.
Myers said he had worked with Bank of America and Nehemiah before on selling homes to veterans, but this was the first time one was donated. He wasn’t sure when it might happen again but said he is hopeful this won’t be the only one.
Segui said she owes her new home to the thoughtfulness of a friend, Jami Hoselton, who saw a story about the giveaway on Facebook and shared it on Segui’s Facebook page.
“I didn’t know anything about it until then,” she said. “I told her I’m thankful to her. ... We are just thankful for everyone who was involved in this for us to get this house.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.