Veteran at HVAF finds health, housing and employment assistance

Two centuries ago Theodore Roosevelt said, "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." But finding good work today can be harder than ever, especially for today's U.S. veterans who are increasingly returning from war after suffering physical and mental trauma.

Mike at Advantage Marketing
For Mike F., 42, it was mental health challenges that jeopardized his job security and housing stability.

"I had been dealing with some pretty severe mental health issues and had been on disability over the last 15 years," says Mike. "But, I really wanted to change my life around."

Mike arrived at HVAF in July 2013 in need of housing and on his path to turning his life around he met Case Manager Lindsey Bennett. She works with veterans being impacted by unemployment, homelessness and other life pressures as a consequence of PTSD and other mental illness. Bennett's team leads the HVAF Critical Time Intervention program, which provides intensive case management services and other unique services to veterans living with persistent mental illness.

"We're assessing men and women intensively and individually to understand their particular needs - counseling, treatment, and referrals," Lindsey says. "We are supporting them in a way that empowers them to put their lives back together as much as possible and get a job. You have to have tenacity in this work, because mental health treatment is a constant and there always exists the possibility of relapse as we had in Mike's case," Lindsey says.

But Mike and his HVAF support team persisted. In April 2014, Mike attended a job fair at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. A few weeks later, he received an interview and was offered a job at Advantage Marketing in its sales department.

"Mike's personality and enthusiasm for the job won us over," says President Bob Bonwell of Advantage Marketing. "Mike shows up to work each morning ready to go and he has a positive attitude. As a veteran myself I value Mike's work ethic."

"Everything HVAF has done for me has led me to where I am now - employed," Mike says.


HVAF receives grant from Wounded Warrior project

HVAF is the recipient of a 55-thousand dollar grant from the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The grant will expand HVAF’s ability to provide services to injured service members.

HVAF was one of 11 organizations selected from 250 applications during the grant cycle. The grant will support HVAF’s long-term commitment to post-9/11 wounded veterans by providing legal and career services as well as housing, basic needs, and employment preparation. Grant funds will allow HVAF to serve an additional 50 veterans and 25 family members.

“All of these services work hand-in-hand to increase a veteran’s confidence as well as prepare him/her emotionally to ace an interview or begin a new position,” says HVAF President & CEO Charles Haenlein. “We believe that in order to ensure this generation of injured veterans is successful and well-adjusted, a comprehensive network of community resources must be offered.”

“The WWP grant program allows us to collectively reach deeper into underserved communities and offer important specialized services to injured service members,” said Steve Nardizzi, CEO, Wounded Warrior Project. “Supporting these excellent organizations that provide unique and highly specialized services will help us ensure that this generation of injured service members is the most successful and well-adjusted in our nation’s history.”

In this third year of operation, the WWP Grants Program continues to work with organizations that provide injured service members with unique, specialized programs and services, often in remote areas of the country. During two review cycles each year, WWP carefully selects the grant recipients, and to date has provided support to nearly 80 organizations nationwide.

It is estimated over 50,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in recent military conflicts, another 320,000 have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment, and as many as 400,000 additional service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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About Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation
Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) is dedicated to eliminating homelessness for veterans and their families through prevention, education, supportive services and advocacy. HVAF provides transitional housing, case management services, and basic needs to more than 200 veterans and their families daily who are recovering from homelessness. Additional services are offered to those in need through HVAF outreach services. For more information go to or call 317-951-0688.

About Wounded Warrior Project®
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit


HVAF shows its appreciation for volunteers

A visit from a wounded U.S. veteran turned Paralympic champion highlighted our annual recognition luncheon for HVAF volunteers, which is celebrated as a part of National Volunteer Appreciation Month in April.
Navy Lt. Brad Snyder's final combat deployment took him to Afghanistan, where he defused bombs for a Navy SEAL team. Nearly three years ago, an explosion blasted shrapnel into his face. He remained conscious the whole time as medics struggled to reach him.   

Upon returning from war, Snyder relied on veterans organizations and community supporters to recover from his injuries and eventually joined the U.S. Paralympic swim team. He went on to win a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle. 

In his remarks to HVAF volunteers, Snyder emphasized the importance of community in helping veterans meet the unique needs and challenges they face.

At the luncheon, HVAF personally recognized members of its community of supporters, the people described by Snyder as crucial to ensuring veterans find success after their duty to our country is completed.  Among the supporters at the luncheon where representative of Church 52, which cooks and serves dinner each month at the Warman property, home to more than 40 homeless veterans.

"We are so honored to work with HVAF and do what we do," says Michael Prothero of Church 52. 

His wife, Vicki adds, "We have been blessed beyond measure and are thankful to be able to give back to veterans."

Other recognized volunteer efforts from the year passed included a group from the Associated Builders of Contractors (ABC) for its work to rehab the Loyd garage. The Indy Racing League performed a makeover on the Jackson house. A team from Home Depot renovated the kitchen at Keltner House, helped renovate Udell House, and painted all the interior walls at Warman property. 

We are so lucky to have so many passionate volunteers that they are too numerous to mention them all, but they all have the most sincere thanks of our veterans. Last year, HVAF volunteers contributed 12,500 volunteer hours, which equates to around $270,000 worth of volunteer labor. What an amazing number!

Special thanks to these groups for making the Volunteer Appreciation luncheon possible: Kincaid's Meat Market for donating the burgers and dogs, Entenmann's for donating the buns. Thanks to Phil Anderson and Vice Admiral Terry Cross, USCG (Ret.), from Carmel Rotary for grilling.