Military and Veteran Affairs: A Gold Star Family Gets a New Home

Live Life Forward presents a very special episode in which a Florida Gold Star family receives a new home—completely mortgage free—courtesy of nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes and some very special corporate partners.

Host Beth Troutman travels to Navarre, Florida, to pay tribute to the selfless service of fallen American hero Mark De Alencar, an Army staff sergeant who lost his life in Afghanistan. The Gold Star family he leaves behind, including his widow Natasha, candidly shares Mark’s enduring legacy with the world in the hopes of helping other families cope with their own pain and loss. For his service to his country, Staff Sergeant De Alencar was awarded the Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, among many other awards.

Natasha said that she and Mark were planning on buying their first home together as soon as he returned from Afghanistan. Receiving a mortgage-free home would be something her husband always wanted, but never got the chance.

Building Homes for Heroes has partnered with generous corporations Advance Auto Parts, Truck Hero and York Heating & Air Conditioning to give a fresh start to the De Alencars. Hundreds gather to pay homage to the De Alencar family and witness the awarding of this very special home built for a hero. The home itself was donated to Building Homes for Heroes by Chase Bank.​


Nonprofit organization Building Homes for Heroes is focused on carrying out a powerful quest of supporting U.S. veterans who have been injured and killed in combat. Building Homes for Heroes® is strongly committed to rebuilding lives and supporting the brave men and women who were injured while serving the country during the time of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

The organization builds or modifies homes, and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families. It’s our honor to support the men and women who have loyally and courageously served our country.

In this episode of Live Life Forward, Building Homes for Heroes is honored to gift Natasha De Alencar and her five children a mortgage-free home in Navarre, Florida. The home is donated as a tribute to and in loving memory of Army Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar—and in appreciation and gratitude to the entire De Alencar family for their sacrifices.​​

The YORK® brand of Johnson Controls is committed to giving back to the communities where our employees live and work. Their relationship with Building Homes for Heroes demonstrates this commitment through its support of US veterans, many of whom suffered both physical and mental trauma during their service. The Johnson Controls commitment to veterans extends to its Veteran Engagement Teams, which help connect the more than 300 veterans who work at Johnson Controls and support them during their transition to civilian life and the workforce. 

These veterans are responsible for the design, engineering and assembly of YORK® products that provide comfort to other veterans through the Building Homes for Heroes program. Johnson Controls, along with YORK® distributors and independent contractors nationwide, has partnered with Building Homes for Heroes since 2014. By the end of 2018, the company will have has donated quality heating and cooling systems, including installation, labor and ongoing maintenance, to over 100 military families. On Live Life Forward, York’s Marcus Hopkins, a veteran himself, speaks with Beth Troutman about the honor of making Gold Star wife Natasha De Alencar and her family in Navarre, Florida, the latest deserving recipients.​

Advance Auto makes it a point to serve both its local communities and those who have served our country. One of the country’s leading auto parts providers, the company has more 6,000 veteran employees and is committed to hiring another 10,000 veterans over the next five years.

For six consecutive years, Building Homes for Heroes has been named a major beneficiary by Advance Auto Parts. The company has generously donated millions of dollars that have helped the organization gift nearly 150 mortgage-free homes to date for injured veterans and their families across the nation. Nearly every one of those dollars goes toward making a meaningful difference in the lives of U.S. military veterans and their families who suffer life-transforming injuries and deaths during their service. Advance Auto Parts is building homes and rebuilding lives for our servicemen and women who have loyally and courageously served our country.

Thanks in large part to the tremendous generosity of Advance Auto Parts, Building Homes for Heroes is on track to gift as many as 33 mortgage-free homes to valiant veterans in 2018, equivalent to one mortgage-free home every 11 days.​​

Truck Hero, a popular manufacturer of aftermarket truck accessories, is another generous donor to Building Homes for Heroes. The company has been very active in bettering the lives of veterans for several years, contributing money and volunteers to support the families helped by Building Homes for Heroes.

Truck Hero’s EVP of E-Commerce Tracy Harper joined Live Life Forward to explain why his organization got involved with helping Building Homes for Heroes. 

“Truck Hero is very passionate about supporting our active and veteran military service members,” Harper said. “We felt this was a good way to have a positive tangible impact on their lives.”​​