Employment spotlight

Earma Andrews known to the veterans at HVAF as “Mother Earma” is teary-eyed when she talks about her 15 years working at HVAF. She will be retiring in January 2015, as a Residential Assistant (RA) at the Manchester Apartments which is one of HVAF's 15 housing properties. Only 8 people worked alongside Earma when she began. Now there is 62 employees on staff.

Earma Andrews
“The organization has come a long way and we have more housing for our homeless veterans and that’s a good thing,” says Erma proudly.

She spent 20 years in the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant and traveled to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm. She was tasked with casualty reporting.

“It was hard work and I was glad to come home after serving my country and work for an organization that supports veterans,” says Earma. 

Veterans at HVAF find strength in running

Matt T. was 23 years old when he entered the U.S. Army for the opportunity it provided him to attend college. After leaving the military, Matt worked as Deputy Assessor at the Washington Township Assessor’s Office in Indianapolis. It was after accepting a job transfer to Evansville, Indiana, which took him far from family and friends, that depression began to consume Matt.

Matt with his medal
“I felt like a lonely man on an island,” he says. 

Alcohol addiction led to job loss. During his last week of employment, Matt’s boss told him about HVAF of Indiana, its substance abuse recovery program and housing services. Two weeks after moving into HVAF, Tucker was introduced to Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping the homeless and other underserved populations build independence and self-sufficiency using the discipline of distance running.

“I began just walking with the group and then I started doing the walking/jogging and participated in the Bulldog Butler 5K,” says Matt, who most recently ran in the 8K race offered as a part of the Carmel Marathon in April.

“This is the first time in 50 years that I don’t need someone to give me a pat on my back or give me approval,” says Matt. “I know understand my self worth, and that really is a positive impact on my self-esteem,” says Matt.

While running with Back on My Feet, Matt met another HVAF client, Ray P., a 27-year-old Marine Corps veteran.

Ray running the Carmel Marathon
Ray’s childhood dream was to join the Marines. After serving for 5 years, Ray landed a job as a civil engineer but was spending long hours in the office. He says his marriage suffered as a result, and he also started drinking heavily. Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs he was referred to HVAF of Indiana for help with housing.

At HVAF, Ray worked not only to improve his mental strength but physical toughness. Ray joined the Back on My Feet running group at HVAF, initially running 5K and 8K races. It was at this year’s Carmel Marathon that he would run his first marathon, a race of 26.2 miles.

Both Ray and Tucker trained together for their Carmel Marathon events, pushing each other to succeed.

“It felt great crossing the finish line, and it was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment for both of us,” Ray says. 

HVAF and Amazon Smile

Your purchase can now benefit HVAF of Indiana. Just go to and type in HVAF of Indiana. The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate .5% of the purchase price for all eligible purchases. will remember your nonprofit selection, and then every consecutive eligible purchase you make at the site will result in a donation. 

HVAF vet gets help finding permanent home

Paul Holland had been homeless, living mostly on a friend’s couch, for the last 4 years. Today the 50-year-old is cleaning and decorating an apartment he now calls home.

Jaimie Huguenard, MSW, LSW, Paul’s case manager at HVAF, helped him land his lease by going with him to meet the landlord and helping with questions. Paul can’t believe his good fortune.

“This place is amazing,” says the U.S. Army veteran of the one bedroom apartment. "I saved enough money to begin to support myself again, and it felt good.”

“I thought the transition from living day-to-day to permanent housing was going to be challenging and the thought of being responsible for rent on such a limited income was overwhelming, but I am motivated to make it work,” Paul says.

Paul is quick to credit his Case Manager for her support.

“HVAF works with apartment complexes to find veterans and their families a place to live at a reasonable rate. Having a roof over one's head makes finding and keeping a job much easier and we are very proud of Paul for maintaining permanent housing and full-time employment at the JW Marriott,” Jaimie says.

As someone who has faced adversity, Paul wants to use his story to encourage and motivate others. He is proof that even if life gets rough you can get your life back on track if you stay positive and utilize the resources available to you.


Woodrow Hairl, WWII veteran & HVAF client, takes first flight

A wave of patriotism and respect washed over the veterans who returned to the Indianapolis International Airport after their Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., April 5. Woodrow Wilson Hairl, 87, was a part of the group of 70 World War II veterans who flew to our nation’s capital to tour the national monument to the Great War and its heroes.

Woodrow in DC
"I met a lot of people who I never would have met before," says Woodrow. "And it was quite a sight to see the monuments."

He also says it was quite a sight to view the country from an airplane window. This honor flight was his very first experience traveling by airplane.

When he went overseas in the 1940s, Hairl crossed the ocean by ship. "I had never been on a plane before," he said, "so I was able to experience that. I was able to show people what I stood up for and what I fought for and what this country is all about," says Woodrow, who traveled alongside HVAF volunteer and flight sponsor Jim Thompson.

Hairl entered the U.S. Army at age 16 and after basic training traveled by ship to Europe. His wartime experience consisted mostly of helping secure areas where battles already had occurred earlier in the war, he says. He spent time in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Hairl’s trip was organized by a group of volunteers affiliated with Indy Honor Flight, a group whose mission is to honor military veterans.

Hairl, who has experienced stints of homelessness in the years since his military service, relies on HVAF for food, hygiene items and clothing.

Woodrow photographed with other veterans

Woodrow in the wave of veterans in DC