A mother, compassionately helped by many people raising her son, was motivated to affiliate with Homes for Heroes in order to pay it forward, according to OC Today.

Bernie Flax, an owner at Exit Realty, is the mother of Eric, 45, who was born with cerebral palsy. She once attended an Exit Regional Owners meeting and met a Homes for Heroes representative, Abby Waltz.

“Abby shared her story of why she got involved and the program gave me the perfect way to pay it forward to many folks who have touched my family in my life,” she said. “It’s taken a whole lot of people to help me raise my son.”

Homes for Heroes, established in 2002, provides substantial savings on property purchases to people who provide or have provided extraordinary service to the nation and its communities.  It can provide savings for those buying, selling or refinancing a property, the report says.

It is available to current or former firefighters, law enforcement officials, the military (active, reserve and veterans) healthcare and emergency services workers, as well as educators.

Exit Realty joined the national Homes for Heroes program this summer after Flax identified with the mission. Both Flax and Exit Realty Sales Representative Ann Holtz will donate 30 percent of their commission to the Homes for Heroes program for every qualified hero. Twenty-five percent will go to the hero and five percent goes to the Homes for Heroes Foundation.

Participants are required to work with a Homes for Heroes affiliated real estate agent to be eligible to receive a Hero Reward check after closing.

Homes for Heroes Inc. is the brainchild of current CEO Ruth Johnson and founded in Minnesota. It expanded to other states starting 2005 and had enlisted more than 100 real estate partners nationally by 2009. In the same year, the nonprofit Homes for Heroes Foundation was formed to provide financial assistance and housing resources for heroes in need. As of 2016, the program has served more than 10,000 heroes.

Flax said she recognizes the program’s value is providing financial assistance to individuals who have made unlimited sacrifices but with limited means. “This touches people that typically don’t get touched,” she said. “It’s from the heart, it’s not to get attention.”