Army National Guard veteran David Balderas of Richland Hills is reminded daily of his time in the military.
The 34-year-old became progressively disabled while serving in Iraq between 2016 and 2018. Mr Balderas was an aircraft mechanic who troubleshooted and repaired helicopter engines until he was physically unable to do so.
While in the military, Mr. Balderas’ duties included climbing up and down helicopters until ligament damage to his shoulders and knees, combined with back pain, made it impossible. Now he occasionally uses a cane to walk. Mr. Balderas currently lives with his wife and three children — a 7-year-old and two 1-year-olds — in a home built in the 1950s with significant foundation problems.
But now the veteran is getting much-needed help to make their home safer for their family.
Balderas was recently awarded a $10,000 check from First National Bank of Texas and Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.
“This grant was unexpected and it saved us. The foundation was in really bad shape and we lost thousands of dollars in the process of trying to repair it. I don’t know where we would be without this help,” Balderas said.
The funds come from a Veterans Affairs Housing Grant (HAVEN), which Balderas will use to make significant repairs to the foundation of his home.
HAVEN funds assist with necessary modifications to the homes of U.S. veterans and active duty, reserve, or National Guard members who became disabled as a result of military service since September 11, 2001. Funds may also be awarded to Gold Star families affected during this time frame for repairs/rehabilitation of the home. HAVEN also allows the funds to be used for down payments and closing costs assistance.
In 2022, FNBT and FHLB Dallas awarded $50,000 to five HAVEN recipients in Texas. April Niswonger, assistant vice president at FNBT, said helping veterans is among their community initiatives.
“FNBT appreciates the HAVEN program because we understand the challenges our military personnel face as they transition back to civilian life, and we want to do everything we can to support them,” she said.
Greg Hettrick, senior vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, said FNBT’s partnership with FHLB Dallas and the veterans community is a true testament to their community investment.
“FNBT consistently uses HAVEN and looks for unique ways to support their communities,” he said.
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