WEATHERFORD, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Charlotte Ferris joined the U.S. Army in 2002 at age 18 because she wanted to serve her country and see the world. Her experience initially took her to Missouri, then Fort Campbell, Kentucky, before she was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, which is where the now-retired U.S. Army Specialist served as a motor transport officer.
Iraq is also where Ms. Ferris became injured after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated beneath the truck she was driving. When Ms. Ferris returned to the U.S., she was unable to work due to the extent of her injuries.
On Friday, Ms. Ferris received the keys to a new, custom-built, mortgage-free home in Weatherford, Texas, thanks in part to a $10,000 Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
“I’m really glad that there are programs out there like HAVEN to help people like me,” Ms. Ferris said.
Also in attendance at her home dedication were a representative from Congressman Kay Granger’s office (R-TX) and Weatherford Mayor Craig Swancy.
The HAVEN grant offset construction costs for the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home, which was provided by Operation FINALLY HOME, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring American veterans with custom-built, mortgage-free homes. Other sources of funding included Roger Williams Auto Mall and McBee Homes.
“Operation FINALLY HOME is fortunate to work with partners and sponsors such as FHLB Dallas who help us honor heroes with homes,” said Rusty Carroll, executive director of Operation FINALLY HOME. “Thanks to their generosity, we are able to provide wounded, ill, or injured veterans with mortgage-free homes, which allow the family to continue to heal.”
The IED blast in Iraq ruptured Ms. Ferris’ ear drum, and after searching for her crew – all of whom survived – she discovered that her ankle was broken. After being medically evacuated and undergoing surgery, Ms. Ferris served in the Army until 2005 and was reactivated in 2009. Ms. Ferris received numerous awards and medals during her service, including a Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Because of the IED explosion, she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and post-concussive headaches.
“It feels like I’m going through dementia sometimes, even though I’m too young to go through this,” said Ms. Ferris, 35.
She and her four children – ages 14, 13 and 8-year-old twins – have lived with her mother since 2010, which she says can feel a little crowded at times. Living on a fixed income has made it difficult to save money for a home of her own, she added.
Greg Hettrick, FHLB Dallas first vice president and director of Community Investment, said HAVEN provides important services to veterans and their families.
“HAVEN was established in 2011 to give FHLB Dallas members a way to honor our nation’s service members,” he said. “In our continuous effort to provide quality products and services, we made some changes to the program this year – including increasing the grant amount cap – which will positively impact our members’ communities.”
HAVEN is a unique grant program offered by FHLB Dallas, through its member institutions. The grants assist veterans and active-duty service members, who have been disabled in the line of duty since September 11, 2001 (9/11), with home repairs, modifications and new construction costs. Funds may also be awarded to Gold Star families, who have lost an immediate family member in service since 9/11. HAVEN provides grants up to $10,000 per household. To qualify, veterans must also meet income eligibility requirements.
The best part about the new home, said Ms. Ferris, is having more space for her children.
“It’ll be awesome because everyone will have their own room. There won’t be such a long line for the restroom,” she said. “It’ll definitely be a new start for all of us.”
To learn more about HAVEN, visit fhlb.com/haven.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank system created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $72.8 billion as of December 31, 2018, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 825 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. Visit fhlb.com for more information.