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Veteran gets first mortgage-free home in Maine

PORTLAND (WGME) -- A Maine veteran and his family now have a new home, thanks to a special program.

Marine Corps vet Austin Baker is the first Maine recipient of a mortgage-free home from Operation Homefront, a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans transition from service to civilian life.

Baker served eight years in the US Marine Corps.

I didnt think there was any chance we would get it, but here we are, said his fianc Amanda Spargo.

Wells Fargo Bank remodels foreclosed homes, and donates them to non-profits across the country.

Operation Homefronts Home on the Homefront program then chooses deserving veterans from thousands of applicants.

He served honorably and his family has difficulties when he deployed, explained Amilee Green, an Operation Homefront case worker.

Those difficulties, Baker says, continued even after his two tours overseas.

When I got out, I started my own business, it fell through and I ended up losing everything, Baker explained.

He admits the transition to civilian life hasn't been easy.

It's difficult going around having your normal days after seeing some stuff, Baker said.

He's battling anxiety, depression, and mental health issues.

I'm getting a lot better and getting a lot of help from the Portland Vet Center and the VA, Baker said.

His new home in Portland puts him just minutes away from the services he needs to live a more normal life.

It was a big relief, Baker said. I haven't had many good things happen in a while, so it felt really good.

He and his fiance will pay taxes, but will never again have to worry about money for rent.

Its not every day you get handed a house, Spargo said. And he earned it.

Baker is enrolled at SMCC for criminal justice.

When he graduates he plans to go to law school.

His family will be moved into their new home by the end of the month.

To learn more about Operation Homefront, go to