NATCHEZ, Miss., May 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Childhood friends still call Burnett Bridgewater by his nickname, Bunny Rabbit.
Mr. Bridgewater laughs as he explains that his beloved mother gave him the nickname — he's unsure why — when he was a young child. It stuck. His mother died in 1998 but her nickname for her son lives on.
"I'm 59 and to this day, I'm known primarily by Bunny Rabbit in the community. It was just something that she picked out for me."
Unfortunately, Mr. Bridgewater doesn't have the speed of a rabbit anymore. He suffered a debilitating lower back injury more than two years ago when lifting something heavy. A certified nurse's assistant, Mr. Bridgewater has been unable to work since the injury. Doctors will decide soon whether to do surgery.
With a limited income and limited mobility, the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and made available through Britton & Koontz Bank was a real lifesaver. SNAP provides grants on a first-come, first-served basis to assist income-qualified, special-needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications. The funds are issued through FHLB Dallas's member institutions, such as Britton & Koontz Bank.
Mr. Bridgewater received a total of $5,240 to get a new roof on his home. The amount included $350 in match funding from Britton & Koontz.
The new roof was a huge improvement to Mr. Bridgewater's home. "I had rain that was coming through, and it did a great deal of damage in two rooms that I know of. That caused me a great deal of distress," Mr. Bridgewater said. "It looks so much better; it has made me believe there is still hope."
Ricky Gray, the Natchez alderman for Mr. Bridgewater's district, said he originally heard of the SNAP program being used in Tupelo, Mississippi.
"I'm really impressed with the program," he said. "It helps people who wouldn't normally get that kind of help, such as putting a roof on. The majority of people think when something like that is offered that there is a catch to it."
But once residents learned SNAP was a bona fide program and not a scam, they clamored to get involved.
"Now I get calls every day from others who want to get the same thing done," Mr. Gray said. "I hope we'll get it again next year. We have a waiting list now of senior citizens."
Britton & Koontz Bank President Page Ogden said SNAP has been good for the bank and the community.
"We are happy that Mr. Bridgewater and others in Natchez have been able to get much-needed home repairs. SNAP helps B&K reach out to residents in need in our community. It's a feel-good program for everyone involved."
It definitely made Mr. Bridgewater feel good.
"It was a blessing — the SNAP program," Mr. Bridgewater said. "I am extremely happy because there was nothing I could have done to fix my roof, even though I wanted to."
SNAP was established in 2009 by FHLB Dallas and is available through its member institutions. Since its inception, SNAP has awarded more than $6 million in grant funds to 1,260 eligible homeowners. In 2013, FHLB Dallas made available $1 million in SNAP funding.
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.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas