LUBBOCK, Texas, March 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After two tours in Iraq and almost being killed by a roadside bomb explosion, Gabriel Perez's back was in bad shape. After retiring from the military in 2007, he continued to live in pain until finally finding an effective treatment last year.
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He now receives regular steroid injections that help keep his back pain at bay, but for about a week after receiving the injections it is tough for him to move. Simple tasks most people take for granted like getting in and out of the tub and turning on the sink faucets were excruciatingly painful for Mr. Perez.
But thanks to a Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant Mr. Perez received from City Bank Texas and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), several modifications were made to his home to make things more accessible.
His sink and toilet were raised, and the tub was removed and replaced with a walk-in shower. "Raising the sink and toilet helped to lessen the pain in my back," he said.
Mr. Perez learned about the HAVEN program through a sign posted in one of the VA counseling offices. "There was a number for disabled veterans to call if they needed help from a grant. I called the number and little by little we got the process going," he said.
Mr. Perez worked with Norval Pollard, vice president of business development at City Bank Texas.
"The HAVEN program fit very nicely with City Bank's philosophy of always looking for ways to give back to the citizens and the communities we serve," Mr. Pollard said. "What made it even more special is that we were able to help out one of our military veterans who has sacrificed so much to protect our values and our way of life. We appreciate all that Gabe and his family have done for us. And we appreciate being able to partner with FHLB Dallas to make it all come together."
HAVEN is a unique grant program that targets veterans and active duty service members who have been disabled in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. It provides grants up to $7,500 to support necessary home modifications. FHLB Dallas made $250,000 in HAVEN funds available to its members.
Now, Mr. Perez says it is much easier to do everyday tasks, like wash his hands and get in and out of the shower.
Mr. Perez believes his back issues may have begun during his first tour in Baghdad. He was a machine gunner and he shouldered the weight of his artillery. Plus he once fell down a flight of stairs in Baghdad due to all the rubble in his pathway.
"Shortly after the fall, the pain began and I never really had the opportunity to address it. During my second tour it got even worse," he said.
The medics didn't have many options besides offering him medication that would numb him, "but if we were to get attacked I'd be completely incoherent," Mr. Perez said. "I was a sniper so I had to be pretty alert. But it got worse to the point that I couldn't ignore the pain anymore."
Mr. Perez believes the final blow to his back came during his second tour when he was injured by a road side bomb explosion. He received his second purple heart, "but my back was shot," he said.
It took years after returning to the states to address all of the health issues stemming from his service, but thanks to the HAVEN grant he is now able to live more comfortably in his home.
"The grant was a good thing," Mr. Perez said. "City Bank was great and I appreciate all the work that was done on my home and I appreciate the program for helping out a veteran."
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $35.8 billion as of December 31, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
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CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas