Passion for Supporting Indiana’s Veterans Leads to Service Project

We're thrilled about the piece on HVAF that appeared in Construction Executive Magazine. Last October, sixteen companies with Associated Builders & Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky, as well as members of the chapter staff and its Emerging Leaders program, volunteered to do electrical work, fix the roof and siding, paint and do yard work. Read the story here.


Employee spotlight

Chasiti Herring, 26, joined HVAF in November 2013 as our first Employment Specialist. She meets with veterans to help them improve resumes and job readiness skills before connecting the veteran with employers in the area. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work.

Chasiti, what attracted you to this job?

HVAF is a wonderful organization with such a great cause. The organization has touched the lives of so many veterans and families and has been a pillar of service within the community. HVAF’s mission is dear to my heart because I have witnessed a close relative, who is also a veteran, experience extreme hardships in trying to receive veteran services. Therefore, it is very important for me to play a part in giving back to those have served our country. I am so excited to be a part of the HVAF family!

I love being able to help the guys and being able to connect them with the resources they need for a new beginning and I like being able to put a smile on their face when they are looking for a job.

What do you do?

I work with veterans to provide a variety of holistic services to help them establish employment. My goal is to help clients to become “Job Ready” by providing them with a combination of services such as resume/cover letter workshops, interview prep, computer training, occupational skills assessments, post-employment counseling, job leads/ job referrals, etc. Overall, I really want to see our veterans succeed in the workforce so I do my best to provide them the services they need to find and secure suitable employment and make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

What do you enjoy most about working at HVAF?

I enjoy helping to make a difference in the lives of the clients that I work with. Many of our clients face so many barriers in regards to securing employment. I enjoy helping them see that there is light at the end of the tunnel! Helping veterans to establish stable employment helps them to feel a sense of empowerment and self-sufficiency. I enjoy working with this population! Overall, I am truly honored to be able to serve the many men and women who served our country.

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

My family is my rock! Therefore, any free time that I can get is spent visiting with them. Family time is always guaranteed to be full of laughter and fun! I also enjoy relaxing and reading a good mystery/suspense novel.

The Play Schools collect items for veterans

This month, The Play Schools in Noblesville and Fishers pledge to focus on HVAF. They hope to instill in our children at an early age the value of donation, sacrifice, service and giving back to the community in which we live. They are highlighting a specific cause each month and ask that families bring in donations of coats, blankets, hygiene items and more.

HVAF Board Member provides outreach

HVAF Board Member and Army veteran Danny Portee is helping HVAF veterans by donating desks and computers. To date, Danny has donated more than 15 computers and 10 desks to HVAF.

"This is one way I can help these veterans and I am glad we can do it," says Danny. "These men and women sacrificed so much for the freedoms we have today."

“By providing these clients easier access to a computer it will provide them a much needed piece of technology which will hopefully help them get a job and with online education,” says HVAF President & CEO Charles Haenlein.

Due to financial constraints, many of our veterans must rely on public computer resources for resume writing, e-mail, and internet research on their benefits and assistance programs.  While the libraries and community centers offer free computer access, they do not offer a means to store this information.  

Would you like to help? Donate a flash drive. A simple flash drive can make a huge difference in a veteran’s life, enabling them to keep their information in one location for easy retrieval, saving them time and frustration.

Second Technology Lab to help veterans

On March 25, GTECH Indiana, in partnership with the Hoosier Lottery and Microsoft, had a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Donald W. Moreau, Sr., Veterans House that 39 veterans call home. This is the second Technology Lab GTECH Indiana has donated to HVAF since August 2013. Each lab was designed to give veterans support and access to technology and skills that will help them ease back into life here at home.

“We are privileged to honor our veterans’ service and give back to them through this second Technology Lab donation,” says Connie Laverty O’Connor, CEO of GTECH Indiana. “Technology provides an important stepping stone for veterans on their journey to become self-sufficient and re-enter the workforce.”

The Technology Lab will benefit veterans and their families by providing them a means to conduct job searches, apply for employment online, complete online courses, and contact the Veterans Hospital and Veterans Administration sites for assistance.

More than 500 veterans have benefited so far from the lab at HVAF’s headquarters.

The new lab at Moreau will help veterans like Lucas F., 51. He served in U.S. Army Reserves and came to HVAF in February of 2013 after becoming homeless. Access to the GTECH Indiana lab at his property will help him look for jobs and brush up on his computer skills.

“I plan to create a new email account to get in touch with employers, use a flash drive and update my resume,” says Lucas.

View photos from the day.

87-year-old WWII veteran chosen for Indy Honor Flight, first ever plane ride

87-year-old WWII veteran Woodrow Wilson Hairl has been chosen to be among the veterans in Indy Honor Flight. Indy Honor Flight transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices.

There are two ways that you can be part of this special event:

Operation Mail Call
Write a letter to Woodrow for him to read on his flight back on April 5

Indy Honor Flight
c/o Mail Call for Woodrow Wilson Hairl
9093 S. State Road 39
Mooresville, IN 46158
(Due date March 28)

Or, be part of Woodrow’s homecoming. Most of the heroes never received a homecoming.

Welcome Home
At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5 at the Indianapolis Airport you can welcome him home. (Arrive at the food court around 8 p.m. for a good spot). Bring American Flags, signs, banners and as many people as you can.

Woodrow served under General George S. Patton and traveled all over Europe from 1945-46 as a member of the US Army. He traveled on the Queen Mary from Washington D.C. to France. 3 days 3,000 soldiers.

“I was just a southern boy growing up in Greenville, Mississippi before the war. We raised cotton, corn, and peanuts.”

Despite his military record and accolades, Woodrow is remarkably modest. “This is what was asked of us. This is what we did. When I left Germany we were heading to Japan and they dropped the atomic bomb and that’s when I got out and got out of the military,” he adds.

But Woodrow struggled to keep a job which led to financial hardship. He came to HVAF in 2012 for help.

“If it wasn’t for HVAF, I don’t know where I’d get my next meal.”

Once a month for the past year, Woodrow has been relying on HVAF for food, toothbrushes, deodorant, clothes and other hygiene items that help get him through each month. Woodrow has made a lasting impression on HVAF staff members as well as outreach volunteer, Jim Thompson.

“When I first met him he told me he was a WWII veteran and we mostly see Vietnam era-veterans. I thought he’d be a good candidate for the Indy Honor Flight, whose mission is to transport American's veterans to Washington DC to visit several Memorials, but then I didn’t see him again for six months. I owe him because everything I have is because of people like him,” says Jim, and “I plan to be his sponsor on the trip.”

“I’m very excited to have been selected for Indy Honor Flight and to see these monuments on April 5,” says Woodrow. I'd like to think I leave a little history and I hope I did some good in this world and I think I did," he said.

HVAF makes the cut as one of 64 nonprofits competing in Brackets For Good 2014

Playoff season is around the corner for college basketball teams and nonprofits too!

Every March in Indy, Brackets For Good hosts single-elimination, competitive fundraising tournaments for nonprofit organizations to participate in at no cost. Those who advance all the way to final round have a chance to win $10,000. We want to win!

This year, HVAF is making its first appearance in the tournament and we’re looking to our strong base of supporters to help us advance through the four rounds.  We need you to make a donation during the first round week (beginning 8 p.m. Friday, February 28 - 7:59 p.m. March 7) and if we raise more funds than our competitor we move on to the second round.

While tip-off (a time to make your online donation to HVAF) does not happen until 8 p.m. on February 28th, please mark this date on your calendar.

In the meantime, help us raise awareness for our mission as we work to eliminate homelessness among veterans and their families and get warmed up for the first round by:

·         Following us as we post Brackets For Good information on Twitter
·         Liking us on Facebook