There is something to be admired about one's commitment to the service of others. Members of the United States armed forces dedicate themselves to the protection of our nation and fellow citizens by answering the call of duty to protect and assist others at any given moment.
When the security of our country is threatened, the American service member can be relied on to protect and serve.
On September 11, 2001 (9/11), as time stood still while a shocked nation reeled from a devastating terror attack, America's bravest men and women were called to action. Concurrently, a new generation of American service members was born as our friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues and family members were compelled to join the nation's armed forces.
The post-9/11 service members entered the unknown to serve and protect us, but not without sacrifice. Of the roughly 3 million post-9/11 veterans, 32 percent of them have a service-related disability compared to all other veterans (17 percent), according to a report from the United States Census Bureau. A higher percentage of post-9/11 veterans also live in poverty and have no source of income.
This is why programs such as the Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant program, offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), are so important. Through member institutions, HAVEN offers heroes a sense of relief when they return home. HAVEN assists with necessary home modifications for post-9/11 service members who became disabled as a result of their military service.
Many of our HAVEN grant recipients are victims of Improvised Explosive Device explosions, which can cause life-threatening injuries such as missing limbs, internal bleeding, collapsed lungs and traumatic brain injury. Many also struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, impeding their ability to work full-time jobs.
This year, we made some changes to the HAVEN program. In addition to providing funds to veterans, we have recently decided to extend the use of HAVEN grant funds to Gold Star families which have lost an immediate family member through his or her military service since 9/11 and need help rehabilitating or making repairs to their home.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Working in the Community Investment department at FHLB Dallas has enabled me to give back in my own way, too, as I help connect post-9/11 veterans with funds they need for critical home modifications. It's hard to not get emotional when a HAVEN grant application crosses my desk, but in helping our nation's veterans through HAVEN, I feel a sense of purpose in my daily work, as if this is my call of duty, post-9/11.
For more information about FHLB Dallas' HAVEN program, visit fhlb.com/haven.
Melanie Dill is a community and economic development product manager for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas