ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Seven tours in Afghanistan and Iraq had taken a toll on Joey Campbell's body, including one incident when he was caught in an ambush attack and his unit took a direct hit from a 120-millimeter mortar shell. "We were the last vehicle and we just got 'smacked on.' Marines take it and drive on," he said.
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As early as 2003, Mr. Campbell, now 32, began experiencing pain in his feet, but he pushed through it and continued his service. "I just kept denying I was injured, so I could keep serving," he said. "It's a Marine Corps thing. Pain is for the weak."
Mr. Campbell is now 100 percent disabled. He medically retired from the military in 2011 as a decorated war hero with two Bronze Star Medals, and served both in the Marines and the Army.
"I don't think I would have done anything differently," he said, then paused for a few moments before continuing. "I wish I could have served longer for my country. The service is my life. I didn't know what I was fighting for; I never voted; I just knew it was the right thing to do. My reasons for fighting were my buddies – the guys to the right and left of me. I didn't have a family at the time. Then I met my wife, Amanda, and had kids, and now I know why I fought so hard."
Mr. Campbell, whose two children are ages 2 and 4, is not one to ask for help, but after tripping and falling several times in his home, his Wounded Warrior advocate told him about a grant program that could fund the cost of removing his old carpet to make it safer for him.
Mr. Campbell was joined today by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, as representatives from Kirtland Federal Credit Union (Kirtland FCU) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) announced he was the recipient of the first Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant in New Mexico.
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 through its members, like Kirtland FCU. Mr. Campbell was awarded a $7,500 HAVEN grant by Kirtland FCU and FHLB Dallas, and Kirtland FCU provided an additional $6,600 in funds for a total of $14,100 to replace the worn carpet throughout Mr. Campbell's home with hardwood floors. Because of illness resulting from his injuries, Mr. Campbell has trouble walking and the seams in the carpet posed a tripping hazard.
"Few sacrifices are as selfless as those our military service men and women make in defense of our country," said Senator Heinrich. "It is a privilege to recognize Mr. Campbell's immeasurable service as the first HAVEN recipient in New Mexico. By making these funds available through the HAVEN grant program, Kirtland Federal Credit Union and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas are strengthening our community and honoring the courage, bravery, and determination of our veterans that drive each of us to be better servants of our cherished America."
Kirtland FCU has a special interest in the HAVEN program and spreading the word to as many veterans and service members as possible. The credit union was founded in 1958 by 10 airmen.
"This program is different," said Chuck Crisler, assistant vice president of public relations at Kirtland FCU, and a 30-year Air Force veteran. "FHLB Dallas has a lot of community programs to help people, but this is the only one where to qualify you have to be a hero; this is the only one where you qualify through heroic service and heroic achievement."
Mr. Crisler first learned about the HAVEN program in 2012, when Kevin Kogucz, a senior member sales officer at FHLB Dallas, visited with Kirtland FCU about the program.
"Kevin introduced the program to us, and we started working with the Wounded Warrior advocate at the VA to get the word out," Mr. Crisler said. "Joey's name was the very first name we received. It took us a while to get everything in place and for Julie (Nielsen, vice president of finance for Kirtland FCU) and I to learn the process. Joey is a real hero. His unit took Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was on the cutting edge. He's not able to work, but he helps wounded warriors; he helps veterans. That is the caliber of people that HAVEN helps. So I love this program."
HAVEN was established by FHLB Dallas's Board of Directors in 2011 as a humble token of appreciation to the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line each day.
"While the sacrifices Mr. Campbell has made through his service to this country cannot be measured, we hope the installation of new flooring will help improve his mobility throughout his home," said FHLB Dallas President and CEO Terry Smith.
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 $31 billion as of March 31, 2013, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans 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.
The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas