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Hero housing program offers discounts to first responders, nurses, veterans and teachers

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Cyndi Merritt lives for closing the deal. The Keller Williams realtor based in Henrico County thrives on finding and selling homes for her clients.

“I’ve loved helping people. I’ve loved getting people into their homes,” says Merritt. “First time homebuyers are usually the ones having the hardest time qualifying for their mortgage.”

Recently, Merritt decided to take customer service to a new level. Merritt felt she needed to give back to clients like Lauren McCray.

“Basically we get discounts when we buy or sell a home. It is amazing,” says McCray. “I was flabbergasted. I had no idea that I was going to be one of the first people in our area to be a part of it. Again, I was just so honored.”

Merritt is the driving force behind the Homes for Heroes program. The national program lightens the financial burden for clients who serve the community from first responders, nurses, veterans and teachers like McCray.

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Lauren McCray (left), Cyndi Merritt (right)

“I want to see this grow and help as many people as I can to help,” says Merritt. “I want to do something to show that they are appreciated.”

McCray is a teacher at Henrico County’s Echo Lake Elementary School and through the “Homes for Heroes” program saved $9,000 which helped with closing costs and other fees.

Merritt’s dedication to “Homes for Heroes” goes beyond referring clients. A portion of her commission on each sale and a percentage of her salary are returned to the program. Plus, she pays a monthly fee.

“I want to see this grow and help as many people as I can to help,” says Merritt.

For Merritt her efforts are a small price to pay to say “thank you” and honor her late-father who was a colonel in the Air Force. As for McCray, she and her husband found their dream home in Ashland and moved in three weeks ago. Her house is already decorated for Christmas with trees in nearly every window.

Cyndi Merritt (left), Lauren McCoy (right)

Cyndi Merritt (left), Lauren McCray (right)

“I love the area. I love where we are,” says MCray. “It was a blessing, seriously. We were very lucky that we were able to find it, get it and have the help with Cyndi.”

The teacher says her realtor wears her generosity on her sleeve and could not be more grateful.

“I can’t believe that someone would do this out of the kindness of their heart,” says Merritt. “She is an amazing person.”

Merritt says closing deals has never been more satisfying finding home sweet “Homes for Heroes”.

“Who am I? I am just a silly realtor,” says Merritt. “But if I can help them and say thank you and show them they are appreciated then I’m going to do it.”

On Saturday, November 21, Merritt will officially cut the ribbon and welcome “Homes for Heroes” to Central Virginia at a ceremony at 6600 West Broad Street from noon to 2pm.

McCray along with two other “Homes for Heroes” recipients, including a nurse at VCU Medical Center and soldier stationed at Ft. Lee, will attend.

Who is the hero in your life? Nominate them for Heroes Among Us

Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.