An Army veteran and his wife, who recently purchased an Aurora home, got the surprise of a lifetime on Veterans Day. Their 30-year mortgage has been paid off, and the joyful news was given to them by comedian and TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who pulled them onstage from his Hollywood studio audience.

“I didn’t expect it, nothing like it. This is unreal,” said Jacob Cline in a phone interview Saturday. “This is mind-blowing, life-changing, I just can’t say enough about it.”

During the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” taping Thursday, the comedian started a segment about a public  “obsession with real estate listings” that has sprung out of the pandemic. After showing the audience several unusual listings from around the country, including a California home with a “sex dungeon” and a $3 million “ominous” residence in Houston previously owned by “Darth and Cindy Vader,” Kimmel landed on an Aurora home.

The three-bedroom, four-bathroom Aurora listing showed as a fairly typical suburban home with no apparent oddities. Kimmel identified Jacob and his wife, Marlisa, as the new owners. Kimmel also told the audience about Jacob’s four years of service in the Army, that he’s a nurse, and that he volunteers, including administering vaccines during the pandemic.

The stunned couple, who wound up in Los Angeles under false pretense and as part of an unveiling prank, were called onstage.

“This is pretty surreal right now,” Marlisa. “My hands are clammy,” Jacob added.

Kimmel continued the bit, switching to a live camera outside the couple’s Aurora home. The camera swept inside the home. Jacob’s parents were there with Jacob and Marlisa’s two children, Rowan and Claire. After a bit of small talk, the children showed off T-shirts they were wearing. One shirt read “Paid” and the other “Off.”

Kimmel announced the mortgage payoff, and the stunned couple kissed and hugged. “Very sweet, I feel like you should be kissing me,” Kimmel cracked. The stunned Clines were speechless; they both wiped away tears. Also on hand was comedian-actor Rob Riggle, who is a veteran of the Marine Corps.

The Clines’ mortgage was paid off by Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s largest VA purchase lender, who happened to be their lender. VUHL is picking up the mortgage for 11 veterans as part of a national program to honor and reward the winners for their service and dedication to our country.

“This Veterans Day, we’re honoring veterans not only for their service while in uniform, but for their lifetime of service and all the ways they make communities better,” said Pam Swan, vice president of military relations for VUHL, in a news release.

The veterans recognized by VUHL include a widowed mother and three Vietnam War veterans in need of wheelchair-accessible homes. All the veterans are “active members of their communities.”

Based in Columbia, Mo, VUHL financed more than $25.8 billion in loans in 2020. The company and its employees have donated more than $100 million to its charitable arm, Veterans United Foundation, since 2011.

“We had such a plan, such a tight-knit budget,” Jacob Cline said. “Now we want to do everything we can to help pay it forward. This upended everything in the best of ways.”

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