An anonymous donor has paid off the $360,000 mortgage of a man who lost his home in a Washington landslide a year ago, The Everett Herald is reporting.
On March 22, 2014, a landslide – since named the Oso Landslide – struck near the town of Oso, Washington, killing 43 people and damaging hundreds of buildings.
Tim Ward was one of the people who lost his home that day, according to KOMO (Seattle). He also lost his wife, and three of his four dogs. Prior to the landslide, he referred to his home as “paradise.” Talking to a reporter, he pointed toward a nearby hill.
“On that hill, that’s where they found me and my wife.”
Like many of his neighbors, Ward was also left with a mortgage on a home that no longer exists. He and other landslide victims have been dealing with mountains of insurance paperwork and unsympathetic banks.
The Seattle Times reports that the veteran has been renting a place in nearby Arlington where he lives with his one surviving dog, Blue, who lost a leg from injuries she suffered in the landslide. He’s been working with his bank, trying to figure out his next move.
“It finally got to a point where we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
This week, the landslide victim got news that would literally change his life: an anonymous donor paid off his nearly $360,000 mortgage. Free and clear, no questions asked.
“Within 48 hours, the bill was paid. How do you say thank you to that person that has got such a heart?”
Chase Bank spokesperson Darcy Donohoe-Wilmot explains that another Chase customer heard about Ward’s plight and wanted to help.
“He contacted his banker and said he wanted to help. He said, ‘How much is the mortgage?’ and said he wanted to pay it off.”
Other Oso landslide victims have found relief from their banks for the homes they lost. An unidentified non-profit group has been working with other survivors and their banks. At least eight other homeowners have come close to working out deals with their banks; others’ banks are insisting on payment.
As for Tim Ward, a reporter asked him what he was going to do, now that he no longer needs to worry about a mortgage payment.
“I’m going to go down visit family, try to expand my emotions, try to get on level ground, come back out here and get life going again.”
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images]