Motorcycle ride through northwest Indianapolis helps veterans

A police escorted group of 40 motorcyclists took a scenic route through the northwest side of Indianapolis on September 28.

HVAF thanks the following sponsors for the 5th Annual Freedom Ride: Rolling Thunder, Comm Data, Riders Insurance, Fishers Post 470, Vigilantes, Studio 77, GTECH Indiana, VFW Post 1120, American Legion Post 64, ALR 276, ALR 145, and Pat’s Tavern.

The ride was led by HVAF volunteer Heather Meiser with the assistance of 6 committee members.

“We’re here to serve our veterans...whether it’s getting medical for the wounded or finding homes for the homeless, our support does not end after a veteran serves,” says Heather.

Heather extends thanks to the entire committee including Tina and Bobby Mullins, Tom Kruse and Randen Miller.

Food was provided by Barto’s Catering & Concessions. More than $1,650 was raised.

Among the attendees was Jordan Whitledge from Senator Joe Donnelly's Office who is photographed in the middle.


Poor health and circumstances leads homeless veteran to relief and hope at HVAF

Randy D. outside Warman
Several years ago, Randy D., 61, an Air Force veteran, was in rough shape and vowed to get healthy. Suffering a heart attack, stroke, and the loss of his mother in three short years had taken its toll on Randy. He was battling depression and memory loss from his stroke, which eventually led to unemployment. Before he knew it, he had become homeless.

Randy isn’t the only veteran affected by physical and mental health issues. Veterans are particularly at risk for homelessness because of their health. Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical disabilities, and overall health make it particularly hard for veterans to handle stress and adjust to society.

Randy commented, “You have all these skills for survival, but none of those apply to the world of Craigslist and Facebook.” Luckily, Randy heard about HVAF through his oldest brother, Joe, who is also a veteran. Randy qualified for transitional housing at HVAF.

With the help of his case managers, Randy is now doing well and became the Senior Resident of the Warman property for HVAF, where he resides. He holds his eight fellow veterans accountable and ensures that all house rules are followed. Randy remarked, “I’d probably be on the streets if it weren’t for HVAF…now I see their faces and I know I’m taking care of them and it feels good.”

The Home Depot Foundation Offers Grant and Benefits Veteran

Korean War Veteran Cliff Craig has been married to his wife, Pat, for 60 years. He is legally blind and she is his full-time caregiver. After years of living in their home, their appliances were not working, the flooring was not stable and the home was in need of a fresh coat of paint. Work included a bathroom renovation, replacing a broken storm window, installing paneling in several rooms, installing a new outdoor wheelchair ramp, and installing a flagpole to proudly fly our nation’s colors.

On October 3, 65 volunteers from The Home Depot stores partnered with HVAF to transform and update the home of Veteran Cliff Craig, as well as its Warman facility. At Warman, every interior wall got re-painted as well as enclosure of the back porches of units #202 and #204. 

HVAF Board Member and District Manager of The Home Depot, Bob Blake, is grateful to give back. “Not only are we proud to have the opportunity to refurbish the homes and facilities where they live and receive services, but also to say ‘thank you’ for their many sacrifices.”

The Home Depot Foundation’s COO, Fred Wacker, was on hand for the announcement.

Charles Haenlein, President & CEO of HVAF said, “We are thrilled and want to express our gratitude to The Home Depot Foundation for providing us with this grant. Warman is in need of facility improvements and the funds, coupled with Team Depot’s manpower, will help tremendously.”

Before photo of kitchen

After photo of kitchen

Salute for Cliff Craig

Team Depot volunteers present HVAF with a plaque.

9th HVAF Recovery Day event a success

HVAF, along with the REST program, held its 9th annual Recovery Day on September 14th. Recovery Day is a day to celebrate HVAF veterans who are overcoming addictions and to bring the issue of addiction into the spotlight.

The event featured guest speakers Marti MacGibbon and Charles White, as well as food provided by Church 52.

Marti delivered a great speech about overcoming fear and about the encouragement she received from veterans who helped her work through her fears.

Charles White, 60, a former HVAF client and Army veteran, shared his story of strength and hope. Charles was involved in the REST program and had a wake-up call after spending 15 days in prison after missing child support payments. He came back with a determined outlook and was so thankful for the support he received from HVAF. Over 80 veterans attended, making this year another great success.

“The two speakers were excellent and provided hope and inspiration for all of us,” says Anthony S., a 49-year-old Army veteran.

22nd Heartland Film Festival benefits HVAF

Whether you enjoy running or watching a good film, there are several ways to support HVAF. The Heartland films will benefit HVAF this year. Tickets are available for online purchase now through October 26th. The tickets are $9 per person (online) with $2 going to HVAF if you use the on-line promo code "HVAF". Heartland has chosen to support HVAF by giving back $2 from every online ticket sale. Remember, $2 of each $9 online ticket will come back to HVAF when using the promo code “HVAF” for each ticket purchased. 

Stand Down helps veterans stand up

Ralph McClury receives items at Stand Down
Making his way through crowds of veterans lined up for free haircuts, legal assistance and employment advice, Ralph McClury, a former HVAF client, received services and goods he needed.

Ralph McClury, a 59-year-old Army veteran and former HVAF client,  has been attending the Stand Down for four years.

“I received a lot of items I needed like hygiene products and underwear,” says Ralph. I love the event and I’m not going to miss it.”

The 9th annual Stand Down was held on September 12 for homeless and near-homeless veterans at AMVETS Post 99.

Stand Down is a military term used when exhausted combat units come off the battlefield to rest and recover in a place of safety. Today, Stand Down also refers to a community-based program that provides homeless and near-homeless veterans with food, shelter, clothing, basic medical exams, and assistance or referrals for social services, such as housing, legal matters and job counseling.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans in San Diego, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

161 homeless veterans utilized services at Stand Down including 14 females.

The HVAF Stand Down included flu shots, housing referrals and legal assistance through community partnerships. Veterans received food, clothing, health screenings, haircuts, and learned about services provided by the following: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, DeVry University, Homeless ReEntry Helpers, Homeless Initiative Program, HVRP, Indiana Legal Services, IUPUI Indianapolis Vet Center, RLR VA  Medical Clinic, SafeLink Wireless, Social Security Administration, State of Indiana Division of Family Resources, Suicide Prevention, Veterans Antiquities, Voc. Rehab, Volunteers of America and Work One.


NFL star motivates homeless veterans

It’s not every day that you have a former first round draft pick and three-time NFL Pro-Bowler greet veterans at HVAF of Indiana. On Wednesday, Tarik Glenn, offensive tackle who played for the Indianapolis Colts, shared his on and off-the-field life lessons to more than two dozen veterans at HVAF. He drew several similarities between athletes and soldiers in their drive to be goal-oriented, but cautioned that this can sometimes cause isolation.

Tarik encouraged veterans to live a life of purpose by engaging in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. Tarik said he had to change his own diet to a healthier one following his 2008 retirement from the Indianapolis Colts. Secondly, Tarik told the veterans to fight for relationships in your life and understand how your contribution can help others. The former Colts player said his wife is his number one teammate and echoed that relationships re crucial to make you a better person and sharpen you. Lastly, Tarik spoke of the importance to fight to live. He recalled a time when his pastor told him that while it’s important to have goals, you must live for the day and make each day count. Tarik knew he wanted to be a great offensive lineman, but in doing so he'd have to do his best that day at practice.

Tarik uses these life lessons in shaping his nonprofit, D.R.E.A.M. Alive Inc., an after-school mentoring program that supports at-risk schools and families by engaging 7th-12th graders in community service-learning opportunities. Tarik is also a full-time dad of four.