At 91, Vera Bigham finally has gotten what many consider the American Dream.
On May 6 - her birthday - she and daughter Gaile moved into her newly purchased, three-bedroom home in Mill Villa Estates. It was her first.
"Not everyone gets a house for their birthday," Bigham said Monday. "Miracles do happen."
The Jamestown-area woman and widow of a war hero closed escrow on the property just months after learning that she was eligible for a Veterans Administration loan that she previously didn't even know existed.
The whirlwind journey to homeownership started in October, when she was the victim of a scam.
Bigham was living at the East Garden Apartments in Jamestown at the time and sent a check to a fraudulent company that solicited her business while posing as the Publisher's Clearing House.
As a result, she had to change her bank accounts and other parts of herfinancial affairs, which involved meetings with the local veterans office, as Bigham receives a military pension.
In those conversations, she said the office learned she was eligible for a veteran home loan.
As a lifetime renter, Bigham had never seriously considered buying a home before. She said she thought about the prospect occasionally, but it always appeared to be out of reach.
"It was something that you think about, you talk about it, but that's it," she said.
For the full story, see the June 24, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.