May 22, 2013
Veterans United Foundation announces $200,000 annual grant to build specialized homes for severely injured veterans
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - Veterans United Foundation, the charitable arm of Veterans United Home Loans, announced the establishment of the Veterans United Home for a Hero grant. The annual $200,000 grant will be awarded to a severely injured veteran to help pay for a portion of a mortgage free home specially built to meet his or her needs. The announcement was made in Jacksonville, Ala., during a benefit concert Sunday night, May 19, in Jacksonville State University Stadium. Marine Sgt. Ben Tomlinson was announced as the inaugural recipient of the grant at the concert in his honor featuring Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band. The grant will go to pay for a portion of Tomlinson's new "smart home" being built by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation. Tomlinson was left paralyzed from the chest down after being shot through the back of the neck in Afghanistan in 2010. "Our service men and women risk life and limb for us, and the Veterans United Home for a Hero grant is a way to offer a hand up and build a place to call home for a deserving veteran," said Megan Sievers, director of Veterans United Foundation. "This grant program meets a need facing so many of our returning veterans. We are pleased to team up with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation for Ben's home, so we can make sure he gets the house he needs." Tomlinson's home will be built in his hometown of Jacksonville, near his parents. The specially-adapted "smart home" will give Ben the ability to live unassisted. "I am so grateful for the support I have received from Veterans United Foundation," Tomlinson said. "Words can't express how humbled I am that they, along with the folks at the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation, want to help me build a home." Veterans United Foundation has pledged to build several homes for injured veterans. It, along with Veterans United Home Loans, recently formed a three-year $500,000 partnership, with Homes For Our Troops to help build 100 homes for injured veterans nationwide. "These homes are hand crafted to fit the needs of each individual," said Frank Siller, founder of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. "In order to construct a customizable home like this, it is crucial to have the support of partners like Veterans United Foundation. Thanks to this grant, we are now more than halfway there in funds raised to build Ben's home; we truly couldn't do this without Veterans United Foundation." The next Veterans United Home for a Hero recipient will be announced by Veterans United Foundation in the spring of 2014.