HVAF housing property gets energy efficient windows

As we first told you in February, thirty Team Depot volunteers renovated HVAF's Lyter House, a transitional home for six veterans. Now, volunteers have come back to install energy efficient windows throughout the house.

“We wanted to replace the windows in the home because during the first part of the project we noticed the home had older single pane windows,” says Matthew Rice, Home Depot store manager, store 2018. “We wanted to improve the comfort and heating efficiency of the home by replacing the windows. Our HDE team that installs our windows for us generously donated the product and labor to the project. I'm glad it turned out well!”

HVAF houses more than 200 homeless veterans and the Lyter House is one of fifteen properties. The renovation work is part of a $10,500 grant from the Home Depot. In addition to the energy-efficient windows volunteers installed flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances as well as painted several rooms. The new floor plan of the kitchen makes the space more usable.

Car wash to benefit homeless veterans at HVAF

Judy Holmes, with Carmel American Legion Post 155, never misses an opportunity to support HVAF.

At the beginning of each year Judy, along with her team, reach out to coordinate a Summer Car Wash fundraiser to benefit HVAF’s Residential, Employment, and Substance Abuse Treatment (REST) recovery program. To go along with this 4th annual Car Wash fundraiser held this year on June 6, the group of volunteers also will hold a cook-out for the veterans that same day.

Carmel Post 155 works all year collecting food, personal items, clothing, cleaning supplies and monetary donations to help HVAF and REST,” says Judy. “For all these veterans have done and have been through it is the least we can do for them.  They have given us much more than we could ever give back to them.  It is our honor to help.”
The group has previously collected donations ranging from personal items, food, cleaning supplies and clothing as well as raised much-needed funds for housing improvements.

In 2014, the Post purchased air purifiers and fire extinguishers for HVAF properties and bus passes for our veterans. All of these donated items allow HVAF to use its existing resources in other crucial areas.

Judy’s Auxiliary was formed out of a committee four years ago with the sole purpose of helping HVAF. Judy works alongside 7 other women who are equally passionate.

Judy’s husband is a Vietnam veteran and her father served in WWII. Her thought on volunteering with veterans is that the act should never be done for praise, recognition or any type of reward.

“The reward of gratitude, appreciation and love that you get when volunteering or giving back is enormous,” says Judy. “I can say that I and my fellow committee members have been teary-eyed on a number of occasions when we have connected with the veterans at HVAF. These veterans always have a smile for us.”

Car Wash information:
852 W. Main Street, Carmel 46032
Saturday, June 6 from 10-3 p.m. 

Volunteer Spotlight

As far as volunteering goes, Vicki Prothero knows her stuff. After all, you don’t get to be a volunteer traveling overseas to perform missionary work without being somewhat of an expert on how to give back. Vicki has rekindled a passion for helping others that was influenced by a family who worked hard and served others. Her father s a Navy veteran and her mother served in the Marine Corps. Vicki’s brothers were both Army veterans.

Her relationship with HVAF began in November 2012 after meeting a veteran who relied on HVAF programs and services. With a personal connection, it didn’t take long for her and Church 52 in which is a member to hit that red “I want to help button” on HVAF’s website and sign up for the volunteer opportunity.

The volunteer work that Vicki and Church 52 have provided has helped the organization tremendously. Their help allows maintenance staff to focus on other areas of need in serving Central Indiana veterans.

Whether it’s interacting with veterans through the annual picnic at the Moreau property or brainstorming other ways to help such as hosting a resume writing and basic computer skills workshop for the veterans; she knows her work won’t end when the group paints the last apartment at Moreau.

“There is something deeply enriching to me about being engaged in my community with others who are thinking about how to make the world a better place on issues that are important to them and me," explains Vicki. “It also gives me a better understanding of the challenges facing veterans.”

In May, Church 52 plans to hold a B-B-Q at HVAF’s annual Recovery Day to show their appreciation for the veterans.

Veteran comes in from the streets

A soft drizzle hit the brim of Danny’s hat as he walked through a puddle of the parking lot towards where he used to live at Manchester Apartments, a supportive housing property provided to homeless veterans by HVAF. After experiencing homelessness for 7 years Danny isn’t letting rain get in his way. Just two years before, he stood at the same corner with only a 10-speed bike and a black trash bag.

Danny with HVAF Case Manager Jerrika Pence
Danny joined the US Army in 1981 and completed basic training at Ft. Campbell. He served in Korea for 14 months but he never imagined how difficult it would be transitioning home from service. Once at home, Danny worked for the tree trimming company his family owned but after a job-related accident he was met with setbacks. He describes those days as hazy and the years turned into “one continuous party” marked by drinking alcohol.

Danny eventually could not pay for food and rent anymore and became a familiar face among homeless service providers offering shelter (Wheeler Mission) groceries (food stamps). He regularly lugged his bike throughout the city for services.

“I told God that I needed his help,” he says. “I told him I was ready to walk away from the booze and the drugs.”

In 2014, Danny says he got his life back on track. He quit alcohol and drugs cold turkey and called HVAF for housing and the next day he packed his belongings and left Martinsville and headed to Indianapolis where he moved into the HVAF's Manchester Apartments and worked with Case Manager Jerrika Pence. Tree trimming took a backseat. His dreams of returning to work was on a hiatus.

Once Danny had a roof over his head he wanted nothing more but to return to work. He attended several career fairs before accepting a job in landscaping. He also enrolled in the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program through the VA where he will complete two months of a paid training program in supply and housekeeping work which is designed to help veterans become more marketable in the workplace.

Last month, Danny moved out of HVAF housing and into permanent housing but he is still receiving help from HVAF through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The program has helped Danny with employment referrals; deposits on both his housing and utilities; a new bed; moving services; and referrals to outside agencies to assist with furnishing his apartment.

“The improvements that I have seen with Danny stem from his attitude and outlook on life,” says HVAF Case Manager Jason Murrey. “Danny has defined a purpose and acknowledges that a lot of the troubles he experienced were self-inflicted and could have been avoided if he asked for help. And he credits the help from HVAF as being the hand-up that assisted with putting him back on his feet.”

Danny isn’t letting his past slow him down and sees that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Save the Date - Veterans Job Fair

An upcoming Veterans Job Fair will help dozens of out-of-work veterans connect to area employers who are actively hiring. The Fair will be held from 1pm-4pm on Thursday, May 7 at HVAF of Indiana Inc. located at 964 N. Pennsylvania Street. 

Companies in attendance include FedEx, Allied Barton Security, Lowe’s, Interactions Corporation, Angie’s List, Covance, Bright House Networks, Unique Home Solutions, PME Enterprises, and many more.

For additional information, please contact HVAF Employment Specialist Chasiti Herring at 317-951-0688.


Help for the Bennett Family

When we ask for your support it is usually so that we can help our homeless veterans return to self-sufficiency but today it’s one of our own, who serves our veterans each day, in need of help.

Lindsey Bennett, Coordinator of Special Needs at HVAF's Warman property, gave birth to her daughter, Skylar, on March 17. Skylar was born with a serious, life-threatening congenital heart defect. Lindsey has created a blog, to provide updates for family and friends. She has also created a separate fundraising page for contributions as they raise money for medical expenses and needs. If you would like to help the Bennett family you can contribute by going to her fundraising page.

Skylar’s heart defect requires 3 life-saving surgeries: one at 1 week old, one around 6 months, and one between the ages of 2 and 3. She will spend up to 6 weeks in the hospital with her while she recovers from the first surgery. Lindsey tells us the time between the first and second surgeries is the most precarious because any sicknesses or infections could be fatal.

Lindsey has and will continue to serve our homeless veterans well. Please keep her family and baby in your prayers. She has 3 other children at home.