AC repair inHinesville, GA

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As a homeowner, you know that your HVAC unit is one of the most important components in your house. It keeps you cool during hot summer days and warm on chilly winter nights. When it's working properly, it's easy to forget its important role in your everyday life. But when it malfunctions, you quickly remember how crucial heating and AC repair in Hinesville, GA, is for your family.

At Liberty Heating & Airworx AC, our mission is to ensure your cooling and heating systems remain effective throughout the year at the lowest prices available. Unlike some of our competitors, we prefer to put our customers first before anything else. We believe in doing right by the folks who choose our business. Cutting corners to save a few bucks? Annoying sales pitches to try and sell you new parts or equipment? That's just not the way we do business.

When you choose Liberty Heating & Airworx AC, you can rest easy knowing you won't have to pay outlandish fees for our services. As a licensed, bonded heating and air conditioning company, we know how important trust is when it comes to the nature of our business. We go above and beyond other HVAC companies and treat your home like it was our own. That way, you have peace of mind knowing you and your family are in capable, responsible hands.

We take pride in providing our customers with the highest quality service. Our highly trained technicians have experience handling all aspects of HVAC repair, from routine maintenance problems to advanced A/C unit installation projects in Hinesville, GA.

Through hard work, honesty, and integrity, we have built a loyal customer base that continues to grow each month. It would be our honor to call you our customer too. Whether you need a routine maintenance check or emergency heater repair in Hinesville, we are here for you every step of the way, 24-hours a day.

Air Conditioning Repair Services Hinesville, GA

Service Areas

Why Choose Liberty Heating & Airworx AC?

We get it - there are a lot of A/C companies out there to sift through. You want to be sure you choose the best company for your needs and budget.

 AC Repair Services Hinesville, GA

Here are just a few reasons why our customers choose Liberty Heating & Airworx AC over other HVAC companies in South Georgia:

Authorized Carrier and Goodman Dealer:

Authorized Carrier and Goodman Dealer:

We're authorized to service and sell two of the most respected brands in the heating and A/C industry. No matter what size home you own, our technicians are fully equipped to handle any HVAC issue with your Goodman, Carrier, or other air conditioning units.

Insured, Bonded, and Licensed:

Insured, Bonded, and Licensed:

We go the extra mile to ensure that our customers feel safe and protected when they hire our team. We treat your home like it was our own, from the moment we step foot on your property to the time we pull out of your driveway.

Fair Pricing

Fair Pricing

We understand that money doesn't just grow on trees. You work hard to make an honest living and need reasonable pricing on A/C repair and other HVAC services. At Liberty Heating & Airworx AC, you'll never have to worry about us charging you outrageous prices.

Flexible Financing

Flexible Financing

Has your heater gone out in the middle of a freezing January night? A/C unit quit working in the middle of summer? Despite some common red flags that you can keep an eye out for, you can never really plan for an HVAC malfunction. That's why we offer emergency HVAC services in Hinesville, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Year-Round Discounts

Year-Round Discounts

With Ft. Stewart just a few minutes away, Hinesville has one of Georgia's largest active military populations. It is our honor to offer current and retired military members and their families discounted prices on their next service appointment. We also offer up to 10% off for Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Members. It's our small way of giving back to those who have sacrificed so much for our liberty.

Free Estimates

Free Estimates

From new unit installations to air conditioning repair, it would be our pleasure to provide you with a free estimate on our services.

Emergency Service

Emergency Service

Has your heater gone out in the middle of a freezing January night? A/C unit quit working in the middle of summer? Despite some common red flags that you can keep an eye out for, you can never really plan for an HVAC malfunction. That's why we offer emergency HVAC services in Hinesville, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Flexible Financing

Flexible Financing:

When your A/C unit or heater breaks suddenly, it can be hard to squeeze repairs into your budget. To make sure all of our customers are comfortable in their homes, we offer financing options to make your life easier.

Air Conditioning Repair in Hinesville, GA

Here in southern Georgia, our summers can be extremely hot and humid. Trying to live in a home without A/C a South Georgia summer isn't just a bad idea; it can be downright deadly. Fortunately, Liberty Heating & Airworx AC is here to help with all of your A/C needs. There's no A/C issue that our highly trained HVAC technicians haven't seen before, and no job too small or large for us to tackle. Whether your A/C system needs a basic issue resolved, or you need a new AC unit installed at your house, our team will be at your door in no time.

We have the experience and training to service all major air conditioning systems, from ductless systems to central air setups. We're authorized to service Goodman to Carrier brands, but the truth is it doesn't matter what A/C unit brand you have - our team can fix it all. If your unit is beyond repair, we can walk you through the process of installing a new A/C system and suggest appropriate units that will work well for your home.

Here are just a few of the most common A/C repair services we offer in Hinesville and the surrounding area:

  • Electrical repair
  • Compressor Repair
  • Refrigerant Leaks
  • Refrigerant Recharges
  • Replace Blower Motor
 AC Repair Hinesville, GA

Common Signs That
You Need AC Repair in
Hinesville, GA

Once springtime rolls around, it's very important that you keep your eyes and ears open for any potential warning signs that your A/C unit needs to be repaired. The last thing you need is to be caught off guard when June, July, and August are in full swing. Knowledge is power, and at Liberty Heating & Airworx AC, committed to keeping our customers in the loop about potential A/C repair warning signs. That way, you can take preventative steps rather than reactive ones.

 Heater Repair Services Hinesville, GA
Loud-Unusual-Noises
Loud, Unusual Noises

Don't be alarmed if your A/C unit makes low-level noises throughout the day and night - these sounds are completely normal. However, if you hear loud, unusually abrupt noises coming from your unit, it may be time to have it repaired. Buzzing or rattling noises can mean a part is loose, while grinding or whistling can signal a more serious problem. Because these types of issues won't work themselves out on their own, a professional is needed to diagnose and correct the problem.

Strong-Odors
Strong Odors

If you notice strange, smelly odors permeating throughout your home, your first instinct may be to grab the air freshener. However, unpleasant odors can be a sign that your A/C unit needs attention. Our A/C repair techs will let you know what's going on and how a potential issue can be remediated with a quick diagnostic test.

Refrigerant or Water Leaks
Refrigerant or Water Leaks

Your A/C unit needs refrigerant to keep your home cool and comfortable when it's hot outside. It's common for condensation to accumulate as your system cools your home. With that said, if you notice pooling water or an active leak coming from your A/C system, it's time to call an A/C repair tech ASAP. Leaks can cause extensive damage to your home, and the problem needs to be addressed quickly.

Heater Repair in
Hinesville, GA

South Georgia isn't known for its freezing temperatures, but one thing is for sure - wintertime in Hinesville can get very cold. When the temps begin to drop, your home's furnace works properly. Modern homes have come a long way since the days of wood and coal. Your home's heater is complicated, and when one component fails, the entire system can be affected. In situations like these, it's important not to panic. Instead, give Liberty Heating & Airworx AC a call. Our trustworthy team of heating repair experts have the knowledge and training to repair your furnace fast, so you can get back to enjoying your home.

Here are just a few of the most common issues that we can help repair:

  • No Heat
  • Thermostat Malfunction
  • Heat Pump Replacement
  • Ignition and Pilot Problems
  • Noisy Heater
  • Emergency Services
  • Much More!
 Heating And AC Services Hinesville, GA

Common Signs That You Need Furnace Repair in Hinesville, GA

 Heating And Cooling Repair Hinesville, GA

Today's heating systems are complex. At Liberty Heating & Airworx AC, our heating repair technicians receive ongoing training in all aspects of heating technology. That way, their skills stay sharp, and their techniques remain up to date. However, you don't need to be an expert to spot common signs that your heater may need to be repaired.

As colder months approach in Georgia, try to be aware of the following red flags:

Expensive Heating Bill

You're probably used to a more expensive electricity bill when winter hits Hinesville. However, if you notice a huge price jump over last year's bill, it could be a sign that something is wrong with your heating system. Utility companies are known for raising prices gradually, but a dramatic leap is a cause for concern.

Uneven Heating
Uneven-Heating

Does your heater seem to work perfectly in some areas of your house but not others? Are some rooms too hot while others are drafty and cold? If so, your heater may need repairing. This is a common issue in older homes and requires an expert to inspect your heater and ducts for airflow problems.

Unhealthy Air Quality
Unhealthy Air Quality

If the air in your house is hazy no matter how much you dust, your heater may be the problem. A furnace that circulates mildew, dust, and other harmful particles isn't working correctly. This issue is particularly bad for people with asthma or respiratory illnesses. If you haven't changed your home's air filter recently, be sure to do so. If the problem persists, it's time to call Liberty Heating & Airworx AC.

New AC Installation
in Hinesville, GA

You and your family depend on your home's A/C system to keep you cool and comfortable during the hottest months of the year. Unfortunately, breakdowns happen at the worst possible times - like in the middle of July when temperatures are over 90 degrees. If you have had to repair your A/C system more and more often, investing in a new cooling system will save you time and money in the long run.

As an Authorized Carrier and Goodman dealer - two of the most recognized and respected brands in our industry - we have the highest quality units available. We handle every aspect of your new A/C installation from start to finish. That way, you can focus on living your life rather than worrying about the next time your A/C goes out.

Curious when it might be time for a new A/C system?

Keep an eye out for these warning signs:

Dusty Furniture

 HVAC Hinesville, GA

If you have kept your unit well-maintained and changed your air filter regularly, you shouldn't experience this problem. If you do, and your system is old, it can be more cost-effective to replace it and have your duct system analyzed to fix the root cause of your dust issue.

High Humidity

 HVAC Repair Services Hinesville, GA

If it feels unusually sticky in your home, like you just spent a few hours outside in the summertime, there's a good chance that something is seriously wrong with your air conditioning. Your air conditioner's job is to pull moisture out of the air to keep your feeling cool inside. When that process fails, it can increase your risk of mold and mildew growth - and that's just the start.

Frequent Repairs

 HVAC Services Hinesville, GA

When your repair bills end up costing more than a down payment on a new A/C system, it might make more financial sense to invest in a more modern unit. Compare how much it costs to have our maintenance technicians perform regular service vs. the cost of a new air conditioning installation. The results may surprise you.

Liberty Heating & Airworx AC

We Are Your Trusted Local Source For Heating And Air Conditioning Services

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Latest News in Hinesville, GA

A project in Hinesville is closer to completion

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - A major project in the City of Hinesville is getting closer to completion.Construction on Bradwell Park runs right through the heart of downtown Hinesville.Small businesses on Commerce Street say they’re excited to see the project be completed for a variety of reasons.Z Beans Coffee, located right beside the construction zone, has been closed since January.“The biggest reason for that is with slower walking traffic, we wanted to take the time to do our re-brand, clean up the pl...

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - A major project in the City of Hinesville is getting closer to completion.

Construction on Bradwell Park runs right through the heart of downtown Hinesville.

Small businesses on Commerce Street say they’re excited to see the project be completed for a variety of reasons.

Z Beans Coffee, located right beside the construction zone, has been closed since January.

“The biggest reason for that is with slower walking traffic, we wanted to take the time to do our re-brand, clean up the place. It was pretty congruent with the construction, the beginning of the year is usually slower anyway because everybody spent their money around Christmastime,” said Nick Reardon, Z Beans Coffee owner.

Construction for the revitalization of Bradwell Park has been going on since June of last year. It was originally targeted to be finished by December, but due to supply chain issues, the project is taking longer than expected.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated or understood what the supply chain, the impacts were going to be,” said City Engineer Paul Simonton.

Simonton says they’ve had delays getting in a number of materials, including stone and parts for the new fountain.

“Now, we’re only waiting on one piece, we’re just hoping we get that one component in in the next week or so. Then, once that happens, the contractors say they’re going to hit it hard and get done as quickly as we can,” Simonton said.

Something that’s welcome news for Z Beans Coffee. They’ve set their reopening date for March 26.

“I think it’s really going to benefit us as well, just having people walk by. That was our big thing before construction. Our busiest time was just walk-through traffic, just people walking through the area checking out the old fountain and being like ‘oh, there’s a coffee shop here.’ So, I think we’re really excited to get back to that point,” said Reardon.

Sam Lake and Ryan Lewis are sisters, moms, and business partners. They’ve been selling their handmade jewelry in their shop downtown for a year now. They’re located just past the construction site, which they say has been a positive thing.

“I think that it’s helped. It’s forced people to park down on this end, so we get a lot of people passing by. If our door is open, then people tend to come in. I think it’s helped generate foot traffic,” said Sam Lake, Robin’s Nest Owner.

Down the street, the manager of Emma Jane’s Boutique says while parking has presented some challenges, it’s basically been business as usual.

“We do a lot of online sales and shopping with our Facebook page. A lot of our customers will just shop on Facebook. We’ll post any arrivals, they’ll comment if they want something, they can pay through e-mail and then just come and pick it up,” said Abby Woodard, store manager for Emma Jane’s Boutique.

Most store owners on Commerce Street say they’re looking forward to the completion of the new Bradwell Park.

“We are pretty excited about it. I think it’ll be a great location for people to come hang out, and hopefully they’ll have a lot of events and things there that will bring a lot of people downtown,” said Ryan Lewis, Robin’s Nest Owner.

This is a development that is several months in the making. Community members say this will make a big change for the area.

Simonton says he’s confident they’ll be able to finish the project by this spring.

Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.

'We were all obedient': Former members talk about life in House of Prayer Christian Church

Former members of a Georgia-based religious organization, with churches reaching coast to coast and seemingly targeting the military, accuse its faith leaders of spiritually and financially manipulating them.Following FBI raids on Thursday at House of Prayer Christian Churches in Georgia, Washington, North Carolina and Texas, former members recently spoke about the emotional and monetary toll they say they experienced.“We were all obedient to the pastors because we were taught and trained to obey ‘the...

Former members of a Georgia-based religious organization, with churches reaching coast to coast and seemingly targeting the military, accuse its faith leaders of spiritually and financially manipulating them.

Following FBI raids on Thursday at House of Prayer Christian Churches in Georgia, Washington, North Carolina and Texas, former members recently spoke about the emotional and monetary toll they say they experienced.

“We were all obedient to the pastors because we were taught and trained to obey ‘them that have the rule over us,’” former House of Prayer member Elizabeth Biles said. “Pastors have complete control over every aspect of our lives – even our finances. They asked for everyone’s income, and they had to tithe 10% of everything or otherwise you were considered ‘stealing from God.’”

Previous coverage:FBI raids Georgia churches near military bases, sources say church was targeting soldiers

House of Prayer:Churches near military bases in Georgia raided by FBI. Here's what we know

The church required military members to tithe their reenlistment bonuses, she said. Biles herself said she gave the church her entire $400,000 life insurance plan from the military.

“Ultimately in our death, our families would have gotten nothing and the church legally would have gotten everything,” said Biles, who was a member of House of Prayer churches in Washington and Georgia.

How it Operates

The church headquartered in Hinesville, Georgia, operates bible seminaries outside of military bases in Hinesville; Augusta, Georgia; Tacoma, Washington; Killeen, Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and, San Diego, California, according to incorporation papers from the secretary of state offices in those states.

FBI agents executed federal search warrants at numerous seminaries affiliated with House of Prayer, according to authorities. An FBI spokesperson declined to disclose the reason for the searches, but confirmed no arrests followed the raids last week. Someone identifying himself as Rev. Jeff Derby with the House of Prayer responded to an interview request with an email noting the churches' missionary works, but didn't address the recent raids.

The churches don't advertise their relationship with one another, but business registration documents reveal their connection, which begins with the church's founder.

The HOPCC, as its current and former members refer to it, began in 2003 when Rony Denis, who served as a minister at another church, recruited approximately 15 fellow ministers from across the country to leave that church and join him, said former church member and pastor Arlen Bradeen.

Denis founded the House of Prayer Christian Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2004 and moved the organization's headquarters to Hinesville, Georgia, soon after, according to Louisiana and Georgia Secretary of State documents.

Influential and captivating founder

Many former members describe Denis as influential and capable of easily captivating an audience.

“We all kind of gathered around him like he had the most wisdom,” Biles said. “We were just so hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and he had such a way of teaching the wisdom of God. We would just sit down and listen to him for hours and hours because we thought he was so holy.”

Denis drew large crowds, said Bradeen, who co-authored "House of Prayer / Den of Thieves: A Memoir of My Escape from a Cult."

“The churches were fairly small, 50 to 100 members … but when he would travel to other churches around the country," said Bradeen, who now lives in Washington state, but formerly lived in Georgia, "the attendance of the church would double. It would just boom."

Julia Ellis, a military veteran, said House of Prayer members tried to recruit her.

While on a bike ride with her 17-year-old son and 9-year-old nephew one evening about two years ago in Hinesville, Ellis said a van with black and white stripes pulled up next to them.

Ellis said someone stepped out of the van and invited her to attend a service at Hinesville's House of Prayer church. After Ellis declined their invite, they turned to her nephew and asked him if he would like to attend.

“I said I did not want to go, and then they tried to talk to my nephew,” said Ellis. “They said, ‘Hey do you want to go to church?’ And I did not understand why they were trying to talk to him, especially after I said I was not interested in talking to them. He is a child.”

Taking Control

Bradeen said Denis initially promised the parishes independence, but instead kept tight control over all of them using a polycom system.

“Using it like a conference call, it could connect all of the churches at the same time,” he said. “Someone could be preaching or singing a song and when the polycom rang, you heard it through the PA system, and everybody had to sit and listen to Denis.”

Biles, who formerly served with the National Guard, said the church recruited her at the the Joint Base Lewis–McChord library in Tacoma, Washington.

“We were commanded to do that. We could not disobey,” Biles said, indicating that Denis targeted military members far from family and feeling vulnerable.

"It’s almost like a predator/prey type scenario," she said. "He also targets them because they have a steady income and they’re always paid the same amount. Once they became a church member, they would be obedient. If they weren’t, they would be openly rebuked and humiliated.”

Soldiers at Fort Stewart near Hinesville alleged that the church was targeting military service members there. One soldier said a meeting was held recently in their barracks to inform them there was a church trying to recruit soldiers for their congregation.

Lenesha Cunningham, who is married to a soldier stationed at Fort Stewart, said members of the church approached her.

“I felt pressured,” said Cunningham. “They just tried to pressure you to come to their church, even if you say no.”

'Soul-winning' soldiers on base

In August 2020, Veterans Education Success, an advocacy organization based in Washington D.C., asked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Georgia Veterans Service to investigate alleged abuses of the GI Bill program by House of Prayer. They alleged the church preyed on enlisted soldiers by sending out members and "soul-winning."

"Soul-winning is an organized event coordinated by HOPCC’s clergy. Five days a week, individuals are paired up and sent out to recruit new members on or around military bases. ... Students would recruit at Post Exchanges, barracks, and on-base housing. ... HOPCC dispatched students who were still active duty to go on base in uniform to recruit. Higher ranking HOPCC members would often coerce lower ranking individuals to attend church," the report noted.

Spending the VA's money

Soldiers were also encouraged to spend their GI Bill on an unaccredited seminary program with graduation requirements that frequently changed, delaying graduation, according to the report.

Veterans also alleged House of Prayer "deceives the VA during inspections and targets veterans in order to access GI Bill funding, VA disability compensation, and VA home loans," according to the organization's 11-page letter to the VA and Georgia State Approving Agency.

“Since our report came out, we estimate about $7 million dollars, if not more, of taxpayer money has gone out the door thanks to this school in the form of the housing allowance and also the tuition fees,” said William Hubbard, vice president for veterans and military policy for Veterans Education Success.

Hubbard said about half of that total amount, $3.5 million, has gone directly to the school.

“It is embarrassing [for the VA],” he said.

USA Today network reporter Latrice Williams contributed to this report.

Liberty County celebrates the life & legacy of Coach Kirk Warner

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - Kirk Warner passed from cancer on June 16, leaving behind a hole in the Liberty County community.Warner was known as many things; a husband, father, coach, teacher, Georgia Bulldog, a mentor, a friend-- the list goes on.It was evident Sunday night the impact he had as the county gathered together to celebrate his life.“Coach Warner, the great Coach Warner, ta...

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - Kirk Warner passed from cancer on June 16, leaving behind a hole in the Liberty County community.

Warner was known as many things; a husband, father, coach, teacher, Georgia Bulldog, a mentor, a friend-- the list goes on.

It was evident Sunday night the impact he had as the county gathered together to celebrate his life.

“Coach Warner, the great Coach Warner, take your rest. The Panther family loves you, but God loves you best,” said Verdell Jones, a member of the Liberty County Board of Education.

More than a dozen colleagues and friends spoke about Warner and his character.

“He let his work speak for itself. The passion that he displayed on the sidelines at games every Friday night carried over into his classroom and the love he had for his students school wide,” said Dr. Warnella Wilder, Liberty County’s Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

With over two decades as the Panthers head football coach, Warner impacted hundreds of lives.

“I’m the man, the husband, the father, the friend, the coach, because of Coach Warner,” said Tony Glazer, who served an assistant coach under Warner for over 10 years. Glazer is currently the interim head coach.

Warner wore number 83 when he played for the University of Georgia from 1986 through 1989.

The Panthers retired the number and presented the jersey to his wife, Kimberly.

Throughout the weekend several of his former players returned home to give back in his honor.

Fellow Bulldog, Richard LeCounte, who is now with the Cleveland Browns said it’s hard to describe Warner’s impact.

“I get choked up talking about it, because you know one day you’re here and the next day you’re gone, but I think he left his legacy on this Earth and he did everything he was supposed to do as a man. He was a strong man,” LeCounte said. “I can’t remember the countless times of me and him waking up 6:00, 5:00 in the morning, going to catch a 1:00 game between the hedges man, at Georgia, Florida, wherever I wanted to go, you know, Coach Warner always took me there and I’ll forever love him for that.”

Coach Kirk Warner was 54 years old. In addition to his wife, he leaves behind three sons.

Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.

The FBI just raided a ‘cult’ church that allegedly targets US service members

SHARE Last week, at multiple locations around the country, the FBI conducted raids on church campuses, all of them located near military installations, and all of them reportedly targeting service members and veterans for membership.The churches are affiliated with the House of Prayer Christian Church, but many former members have described it as something more akin to a cult, siphoning off military pay and benefits from those who join.According to ...

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Last week, at multiple locations around the country, the FBI conducted raids on church campuses, all of them located near military installations, and all of them reportedly targeting service members and veterans for membership.

The churches are affiliated with the House of Prayer Christian Church, but many former members have described it as something more akin to a cult, siphoning off military pay and benefits from those who join.

According to The Savannah Morning News, the FBI raided one location in Hinesville, Georgia, less than eight miles from Fort Stewart. Another raid was conducted at the Assembly of Prayer Church in Hephzibah, Georgia, located near Fort Gordon. A third raid was conducted in Killeen, Texas, at the Assembly of Prayer Christian Church.

In Washington State, the Tacoma News Tribune reported a similar raid by federal law enforcement officials at a Tacoma church also affiliated with the House of Prayer Christian Church organization.

The church is reportedly owned by a foreign nonprofit company called the House of Prayer Christian Churches of America Inc. and uses a post office box in Hinesville, Georgia as a mailing address, USA today reported.

The FBI did not provide any further details of the raids or confirm if any arrests had been made in connection with them.

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Businesses of all manner operating near military bases and using predatory tactics are nothing new, as the myriad of payday loan shops and disreputable car dealerships outside any gate demonstrates. The House of Prayer Christian Church has been operating for decades and recruiting on and off base, according to Veterans Education Sucess, a veterans education advocacy group.

A 2020 letter from Veterans Education Success to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Georgia Department of Veterans Services detailed repeated instances of defrauding soldiers and veterans. This included misleading students enrolled in education classes at the church about the use of their education benefits, charging higher tuition rates for veterans, misleading the VA about whether the church was a legitimate teaching organization, and forcing members to recruit new members, especially among younger service members and spouses.

Many of the former church members cited in the letter also say that they were recruited by other service members while on base. One wrote in the letter that they were “recruited by an Army sergeant (E5) at the reception barracks at Fort Stewart.”

Another, “a Marine veteran and former student, says he was recruited this way in Okinawa, Japan.”

An Army veteran is cited saying that while on active duty and in uniform he “recruited soldiers at Fort Stewart, Georgia; Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; and Ft. Gordon, Georgia.”

In Killeen, Texas, last week, a former church member told reporters, “When I was 16 I would go with other members to [Fort Hood] and do what the church would call ‘soul winning’ to invite people to the church.”

For those enrolled in the church, former members described it as an ever-changing process that would ask members to “tithe” their disability benefits and string people along with poorly organized classes until they had depleted their education benefits, all without ever issuing any kind of certifications.

According to Veterans Education Success, in FY 2018, the House of Prayer Christian Church received at least $708,145.53 in Post 9/11 GI Bill funding.

The church was also described as more akin to a cult by former members. In the 2020 letter from Veterans Education Success, one female service member recounted being ordered to “live in a ‘woman’s home’” while on active duty because the barracks were unsafe. Another described being confronted by church members in the barracks after leaving the organization.

The church, and similar religious recruiting practices, have also been the topic of discussion among service members online. On the popular Army Reddit page, there are numerous threads discussing “cults” operating on post and around some of the same locations that were raided last week: At Fort Gordon; Fort Stewart; and even in reception battalions.

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What to know about the House of Prayer Church raided by the FBI in Fayetteville

On June 23, the FBI served simultaneous search warrants on at least six House of Prayer Christian Churches in Fayetteville, Georgia, Washington, Texas, and California.The FBI declined to say if the searches were related or if they were connected to a particular case. The church, known as HOPCC with 11 churches near U.S. military installations, has a reputation for fleecing veterans of their education and disability benefits and operating as a cult, according to a letter sent to the Veterans Administration, formerly know...

On June 23, the FBI served simultaneous search warrants on at least six House of Prayer Christian Churches in Fayetteville, Georgia, Washington, Texas, and California.

The FBI declined to say if the searches were related or if they were connected to a particular case. The church, known as HOPCC with 11 churches near U.S. military installations, has a reputation for fleecing veterans of their education and disability benefits and operating as a cult, according to a letter sent to the Veterans Administration, formerly known as Veteran's Administration, by the Veterans Education Success, a nonprofit that oversees the use of GI Bill benefits.

Related news:FBI raids Georgia churches near military bases, sources say church was targeting soldiers

Here are three things you need to know about the group and its ties to Fayetteville:

Where they are

Records with the N.C. Secretary of State indicates that the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-founded group registered its House of Prayer Church on Hodge Street in Fayetteville in 2013. The record states the church's principal office is located in Hinesville, Georgia — one of the properties raided by the FBI. According to Cumberland County property records, House of Prayer Christian Churches of America owns four adjacent parcels in Bonnie Doone on Hodge Street as well as two adjacent properties on neighboring Grooms Street. All six were purchased in 2016.

The FBI served a search warrant on the church at 5204 Hodge St. on June 23, an FBI spokesperson confirmed. But what was being sought by the warrant and what, if any items were seized, was not released?

Related:House of Prayer among five churches raided by FBI near military bases, no arrests made

What they do

The church operates bible seminaries outside of military bases in Hinesville, Georgia; Augusta, Georgia; Tacoma, Washington; Killeen, Texas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and, San Diego, California, according to incorporation papers from the secretary of state offices in those states. The local church reportedly opened House of Prayer Christian Church Day School here in 2015, teaching grades kindergarten through 12th. They also advertise a Teenage Missionaries group and a children's choir.

Allegations

In 2020, Veterans Education Success wrote a letter to the Veterans Administration, asking that abuse of the GI Bill program by House of Prayer Christian Church’s bible seminaries be investigated. Veterans Education Successworks to ensure the success of military-connected students using the GI Bill and other federal educational benefits, and to weed out waste, fraud, and abuse, according to its website.

Among dozens of allegations in the 11-page letter dated August 2020, former members of the church reportedly told Veterans Education Success that House of Prayer:

• deceives the VA during inspections and targets veterans in order to access GI Bill funding, VA disability compensation and VA home loans.

• lies to VA inspectors about how much time students spend in class, telling inspectors students were in class when instead they were recruiting new members or doing other work for the church; lied about the percentage of veteran students attending the classes to make it seem like more civilians attended; lied about the number of students attending the one program approved for GI Bill funding, by stating all the students in different states attended that one approved program.

• charges significantly higher tuition to VA students. "Civilians were given 'in house grants' to reduce the price or (were) later reimbursed if they paid full price. By contrast, student veterans were billed the full price of tuition." Students using the GI Bill paid from $500 to $900 per month.

• misleads the VA about teacher college degrees and salaries, when the teachers only had certificates and were not paid.

• requires students, who were supposed to be in class, to recruit new members, telling them to specifically target young soldiers and military spouses alone with young children.

• changes class names or retaught material to keep students enrolled longer. "For example, HOPCC had a class called 'The Books of Moses.' HOPCC broke up the course into five separate classes, each covering one of the five books," the letter states. "Students who took the original 'Books of Moses' course were required to take the five separate classes even though they covered the same material. This allowed HOPCC to continue to collect tuition money."

• students deplete their education benefits and never receive a completion certificate. One student attended classes for 10 years in three different states, another for 12 years in Georgia. Both exhausted their benefits and never received a certificate. The letter goes on to state: "It is highly unlikely that receiving a certificate from HOPCC's bible seminaries would benefit students in any way ... A HOPCC certificate would only allow graduates to preach or teach at HOPCC churches and bible seminaries." The letter also alleges that women were prohibited from preaching or teaching in the church even though they used their benefits to attend the classes. The credits are also non-transferable to other schools.

• manipulates veterans into donating their VA disability compensation to the church and coaches veterans on how to lie to get 100% disability ratings. HOPCC allegedly told members that other people were "sinners" and their lies to the VA were "right with God." Veterans were often required to make a variety of payments such as "weekly offerings," "monthly offerings," "electric bill offerings" and "soul-winning offerings." The letter states: "Many veterans were even allegedly told that 'God blessed you [with disability compensation] so you could give your time to him and not worry about working a regular job."

• engages in mortgage fraud by taking out loans in parishioners' names and forging signatures with the use of in-house notaries. The ability to perpetrate such fraud was because the church had access to students' Social Security numbers and other personal information.

Military & Crime Editor F.T. Norton can be reached at fnorton@fayobserver.com.

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