Regions Mortgage Loan Officer Jennifer Rollins immediately recognized the caller’s voice and urgency: “We need your help. We have to move.”
It was Demetrius Wood, a Marine Corps veteran that a real estate agent had referred to her more than 10 years earlier.
Back then, Wood and his wife, Candace, shopped for their first home halfway between the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point and their Johnston County roots. They wanted to start building their family and financial future together.
But something about the first home-financing offer Wood received didn’t feel right. Get another quote, Candace suggested, and, acting on the real estate agent’s advice, Wood called Rollins.
Demetrius Wood talks about his relationship with Regions Mortgage Loan Officer Jennifer Rollins:
‘Fighting for us’
The daughter of a Navy corpsman who received the Purple Heart in Vietnam for multiple combat wounds suffered while treating soldiers under fire, Rollins seethed when she saw the numbers.
She told Wood to call the lender’s representative and ask some specific questions.
“He would not answer some of the questions at all,” Wood recalled, “and with others would only say, ‘That’s just the way it is.’ I now felt uncomfortable because I realized I was being taken advantage of.
“The very first time I spoke with Jennifer was completely different,” he added. “I remember her saying, ‘I really care about my veterans. Please allow me the opportunity to assist you and your family.’ Her offer was fair and beyond reasonable — like a night and day difference between the two.
“Needless to say, we went with Jennifer and Regions Mortgage. For more than 12 years and ever since that moment, she’s been more than a mortgage loan officer to us but a financial ally, friend and advisor. She’s been fighting for us ever since.”
Jennifer not only lives Regions’ values and puts us first but demonstrates the Marine Corps ethos and motto of ‘Semper Fi’ (Always Faithful) in the way she serves her customers.
New housing need
That’s why Wood felt comfortable calling Rollins late that night to seek her advice again when it was clear their current home no longer met their needs.
That was August 2020. In August 2022, Demetrius and Candace officially took the keys of their dream home in Four Oaks, North Carolina, thanks in large part, they said, to Rollins.
Home secured, Demetrius, now an associate biologist for a pharmaceutical company, and Candace, a pharmacy tech, are planning their next big financial move: starting a trucking company.
“There were so many things we had to navigate to get here,” Wood said of the new house. “Some of the big ones: selling our first home, moving into a townhouse while this house was being built, the pandemic, material shortages, mortgage rates and inflation, the construction loan and all the other things that come with building a house, plus the ins and outs of the VA Home Loan program, which Jennifer knew better than anyone.
“At the closing, our attorney was trying to get all the paperwork together and Jennifer was quoting off from memory what page and paragraph should come next. She’d memorized the documents.
“Our attorney told me later, ‘She is so good!’ Throughout this entire process, Jennifer was our guiding beacon to say, ‘Don’t give up, everything looks good on our end.’ She checked in with us regularly and took the time to explain the process and answer any question we had.
“There’s a true sense of love and compassion when you have someone that’s willing to go out of their way just to see you be successful. That’s why I wrote Terry (Hoey, Regions’ Raleigh Market Executive and Rollins’ manager) the email,” he said.
“I wanted the company to know that Jennifer not only lives Regions’ values and puts us first but demonstrates the Marine Corps ethos and motto of ‘Semper Fi’ (Always Faithful) in the way she serves her customers.”
Located about 34 miles south of Raleigh, the Woods’ four-bedroom, 3.5-bath home is their “oasis.” They now have plenty of space for them and their son, Tristan, 12, and daughter, Ashley, 8.
Candace loves the living room’s vaulted ceiling and stone fireplace while Demetrius prefers the sitting room where he reads to “de-stress” — an activity that helps him move past experiences as a rifleman in Afghanistan and Libya and the combat wounds that preceded his honorable discharge in 2012 from the Marine Corps after four years of service.
“This house changed my life most of all it because it gave me a peace of mind,” he said. “No matter where we are in this house, we’re always getting together as a family and we’re always having a good time. I really enjoy that.”
So does Rollins.
“I love hearing and seeing how happy everyone is with their new home and being part of this family’s life for so many years and so many milestones,” she said. “Demetrius is one of my veterans and he and Candace deserve this dream home and more.
“At one point he signed a check with his life to protect us and serve and did just that. Now we’ve got to give back. We can’t do enough for our veterans. This home is part of that mission for me.”