An Army veteran’s gift to charity will now enable 25 Oklahoma families to own their own homes.
Sergeant First Class E-7 Stephen Florentz left behind his home and $2.25 million after his death to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, which said it would use the money from his estate to provide houses to 25 families who need them, WXIN reported.
Florentz spent his life giving service to his country. He started out serving in Vietnam as a helicopter medic, became wounded in a battle in Asia, and received a Purple Heart before coming back to the U.S.
Florentz also volunteered to serve a year in Operation: Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and gave his service to veterans in VA hospitals across the country.
“He gave his life for veterans,” Florentz’s friend Mike Bourland told KFOR.
As someone with a background in service, Florentz especially admired the work of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity.
“It was just something he was excited about,” Bourland said. “When he moved to Oklahoma he became a homeowner.”
Although he never volunteered for the organization, the cause was near and dear to Florentz, who grew up in a tenement in Brooklyn and always dreamed of owning a home of his own.
“He called me in 2002 and wanted to know about Habitat for Humanity,” said Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity CEO Ann Felton. “I sent him a letter and some paperwork about our organization.”
“He wanted to pass that onto others, particularly others who are less fortunate and not able to buy a house,” Felton added.
When Florentz died six months ago and bequeathed his entire estate to the charity, Felton found out that he saved the paperwork she gave him 15 years ago.
Florentz’s gift is the largest donation Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity has received. The money will go towards building houses for 25 families in an Oklahoma City neighborhood that is named after him—Florentz Legacy Estates.