HOT SPRINGS, Ark., Feb. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former Army Sergeant Leland Arledge faced many hurdles returning to civilian life after his medical retirement. Small things became big obstacles, like his home's carpeting, which impaired his mobility.
Removing carpeting and installing wood flooring allowed renewed mobility that Mr. Arledge didn't previously enjoy since his return from service in Afghanistan.
Medically retired in 2011, Mr. Arledge is a below-the-knee amputee. He uses a prosthesis, but spends time in his wheelchair, having gone through 43 surgeries since his September 2011 injury while serving in Afghanistan.
"I spend a lot of time in my wheelchair, and it is very difficult to go from a smooth hallway to thickly padded carpeting," he said. "It uses a lot of energy and time to try to push through that. It wears you down."
Mr. Arledge recently received a $5,000 Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Arvest Bank, which allowed for the installation of the wood floors.
HAVEN is a unique grant program offered by FHLB Dallas through its member institutions, such as Arvest Bank, that reaches out to veterans and active-duty service members who have been disabled in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. It provides grants up to $7,500 to support necessary home modifications. To qualify, veterans must also meet income eligibility requirements.
Mr. Arledge served eight years in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011. On September 11, 2011, he and several other military personnel were transporting some high-value target individuals when the vehicle Mr. Arledge was driving hit a roadside bomb. While no one died, all sustained a variety of injuries, with Mr. Arledge's among the worst. In fact, he doesn't recall much in the days afterward as he was placed into a medically induced coma and later woke up in a San Antonio, Texas, hospital.
The work funded by the HAVEN grant has improved his quality of life, Sergeant Arledge said. "It gives me more independence in my own home," he said. "It is awesome that the grant is out there for people in my situation. I don't know how many people are aware of the HAVEN program. I was lucky to have Valerie (Dewese) who knew about it. Since I got the grant, I've told other soldiers about the grant in the hopes that they can get it as well."
Ms. Dewese is a transitional care manager at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock and said she heard about the HAVEN grant from another veteran and in discussing it with her supervisor, they met with Virgil Miller, group CRA director at Arvest Bank, to learn the particulars of the grant.
"Through our partnership with FHLB Dallas, we are able to utilize the HAVEN grant to show our heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifices that Sergeant Arledge made in service to his country," said Mr. Miller. "We hope he will find the modifications made to his home through the HAVEN grant helpful."
Ms. Dewese said she is always on the lookout for veterans who would meet the grant's requirements and was able to help Mr. Arledge and another veteran receive HAVEN grants.
"There are a lot of grants offered through the VA, but it's good to have avenues outside of the VA that also can help our veterans," Ms. Dewese said. "The HAVEN grant does special things that some of the VA grants don't do."
FHLB Dallas launched the HAVEN program in 2011, offering $250,000 in grant funds to assist veterans returning home from service. This year, FHLB Dallas has made available through members a new $75,000 allocation to the program.
"HAVEN's impact on the veterans who have benefited from the funds has been tremendous," said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "Assisting an individual who has protected our liberties is an honor, and we are pleased to have partners like Arvest Bank that are committed to this program."
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 270 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a network of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board of directors and management team. These banks serve customers in 120 communities with 12-hour weekday banking at most locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an equal housing lender and member FDIC.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $43.0 billion as of September 30, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas