How VA the Fairway Supports Our Community:

A NewNational Program Created with 

Military Families in Mind 

by Kristin Bentley


photos courtesy of VA the Fairway & American Warrior Initiative

“In that moment, I was really shaken to my core,” says decorated combat veteran, New York Times best-selling author and VA the Fairway spokesperson Sean Parnell, as he recalls his memory of 9/11. “I was only 22-years-old, and up until that point in time my life had been spent living in the golden age of America. I was a college student from a strong middle-class family, and it had never occurred to me that our country could be attacked like that.”

For those of us who lived through that fateful day as we experienced the most tragic terrorist attack in the history of our nation, it has certainly left us with a scar in time on our very consciousness as American citizens. In the wake of it all, Sean, who is also co-founder of American Warrior Initiative, says he felt like he suddenly knew why God put him on this earth.


Like many of our own beloved service members, it was that very day that changed his life trajectory as he felt the call to serve. Sean quickly went from an elementary education college graduate to an Infantry officer leading troops to save young children in Afghanistan after a Taliban bombed one of the new schools they had just helped to build.

After returning from his first deployment, he struggled with the transition back to civilian life and

one of the few people he encountered who seemed to understand this internal struggle was a young real estate agent. She was a military spouse, and it was her kindness and willingness to listen that he remembers most about buying his very first home.

In a highly competitive and fast-paced real estate market, that also happens to be home to the largest veteran community in the country, it is even more important that we are able to feel this same kind of trust and understanding. Moving as frequently as we do often makes the homebuying process even more stressful than usual, so working with professionals who understand can make the experience a positive and memorable one

These are the very experiences you will be provided by VA the Fairway, a professional team with a local office in Lacey that launched at the beginning of the year by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Their mission is to make the experience the best possible for families like ours, with needs unlike most other homebuyers.

Though different beginnings, VA the Fairway’s Lacey Branch Manager Michael Mesa also believed he was called to join the


military during a life crossroad. “I joined at 17, in a time where the military was old school in a lot of ways,” says the Gulf War disabled veteran.

“A lot of my cadre and NCOs were Vietnam veterans, and they brought with them the discipline that it took to stand and not back down. To a 17-year-old runaway, who thought he knew everything, I realized very quickly that I didn’t know a thing. This was also my first experience with a real family. I was accepted.”

To Michael, being able to continue to serve our country by serving our service members, veterans and their families has allowed him to continue his mission after his medical retirement. By helping to lead the efforts set by VA the Fairway, he has been able to transition his life’s work by giving it new meaning.

“I’m excited to serve our nation’s heroes,” he adds. “They served our country, and now we have the opportunity to serve them.”

VA the Fairway offers competitive pricing in the mortgage industry. And with the new VA loan bill that was signed into law less than two weeks ago, the raised loan cap means there are now more homebuying opportunities for those looking to invest in one of the most steady and secure real estate markets in the country.

Partnered with the American Warrior Initiative, VA the Fairway offers annual American Warrior Real Estate Professional “boot camps,” which are 4-hour continuing education classes designed to educate and train those in the industry to assist our community by providing a superb homebuying experience.

Two of these boot camps were recently held locally, one in Tacoma’s Century Link stadium, the other at Indian Summer Golf & Country Club in Lacey.


As with each boot camp, a local disabled veteran is presented with a donated trained service dog. But this year, at one of these events they presented two. A second service dog was presented to VA the Fairway’s very own Michael Mesa. And he had no idea.


To say it took him to his knees would be an understatement. The loud applause in the room made me feel grateful to be able to observe and witness the acknowledgement of a man who continues to be so eager and willing to serve. By the end of the day I knew that not only will my husband and I be calling his office when we are ready to buy our forever home in Washington in a few years, but that I cannot wait to visit his local alpaca ranch for veterans.


In this community, we tend to gravitate to those who represent us and our values, and this is what you will find with VA the Fairway and their partners.

“You learn, you see, you hear. It all comes down to an incredible amount of love and an incredible amount of protectiveness when you serve something greater than yourself,” says Michael through tear-filled eyes. “And now I can’t even imagine my life purpose to be any other way.”

For more information about VA the Fairway, or their upcoming boot camps, please contact Maile Cabral at