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Homes for Heroes supporter is a hero herself


Helping heroes is Jessica Finnell’s passion. The young mother has moved smoothly from her dozen years with Bucks County 911 to her career as a Realtor and she’s still serving the community.

She has been with Century 21 Montague-Canale, Lower Southampton, for almost three years and has been working with the Homes for Heroes Foundation for the last two.

It’s a nonprofit program that provides financial benefits for those it considers heroes. That includes firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers, first responders, military personnel, health care professionals and teachers.

The giant career change was a natural evolution for Jessica. In addition to her years of rescue work, her husband is Upper Southampton Police Officer Robert Drechsel and her father is Bristol Township’s Third District Volunteer Fire Chief Raymond Finnell so she’s grown up with the concept of serving the community.

In addition, her 12 years with the emergency dispatch system has left her with an understanding of those grappling with tragedy and other sad events. It also has provided her with a thorough geographic knowledge of Bucks County, something other Realtors usually have to learn. “After all those years, I know where everything is in Bucks County – every town, every police force, every fire company, every ambulance,” she said.

While still working for the county, she earned her real estate license and started working part-time. “I wasn’t really part-time, though” she said, “I was working 90 hours a week.”

Finally real estate won her over and she left her county job in August because, she said, “I just loved what I was doing in real estate.” In addition, she said, “It offers a positive experience after years of working with grim situations.” It also provides more flexible work hours, a definite benefit because she has two daughters. Arianna, 13, and Madison, 8.

Jessica said when she joined Homes for Heroes two years ago, she was one of only three agents in the county. “Now, that’s at least tripled,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful program, but it’s so little known. It hasn’t received much publicity.” She said a qualified buyer will save a percentage of the purchase price of the home and will receive a check for that amount, often about $2,000 or more, at closing.

Jessica figured that during her few years of working with Homes for Heroes she has given back $35,000 to hero clients and donated more than $6,000 to the foundation. She said about 30 percent of her gross commission goes to the foundation. Money not returned to the buyer goes into a fund for associated needs, such as housing repairs.

Jessica also serves on the board of directors of the Bucks County Housing Group and works with VAREP. “It serves military families in need,” Jessica said. VAREP is a housing counseling organization hoping to increase sustainable homeownership and provide financial literacy education for active military personnel as well as veterans. It is part of the USA Homeownership Foundation.

“We give back to our local heroes. It’s our way of saying thank you,” Jessica said.

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