Help for heroes

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After Air Force veteran Willie Edward Eddington passed away last year, his daughter Belinda Eddington was caught off guard when she received a bill for his nursing home care that had already been sent to collections. She had been scrambling to plan a funeral for the Korean War veteran when this new expense surfaced, creating an unexpected financial hardship.

Her father had secured VA benefits with DAV’s assistance prior to his passing, so Belinda reached out for help. James Galliher, a Navy and Marine Corps veteran who leads DAV’s service program in San Diego, suggested she apply for assistance through the PenFed Foundation Military Heroes Fund, which was recently expanded thanks to a DAV Charitable Service Trust grant.

For nearly a decade, the PenFed Foundation has supported post-9/11 veterans in time of need with emergency financial assistance. Through the new partnership with DAV, qualifying veterans of all eras who are working with a national service officer and have a VA or military disability rating, or have a pending claim for benefits, are now eligible for a one-time, need-based grant.

“We were able to help her and quickly. Once the bill was verified, the PenFed Foundation was able to process it and help her almost immediately,” said Galliher.

The program provides honorably discharged veterans financial assistance through the direct payment to a third party. Mortgage, rent, auto loans, auto insurance and utilities are examples of costs that the program can potentially cover. Veterans who need assistance and believe they fulfill the program requirements can confirm eligibility with a DAV national service officer. Find your local DAV national service office at dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office.

“If it wasn’t for [Galliher] telling me about the [PenFed Foundation] emergency fund being able to help me, I don’t know what would have happened,” said Eddington. “This program helped me help my dad. It’s a blessing.”

“DAV has directly supported veterans with our disaster relief efforts for many years, but there was nothing in place to assist with rough patches in personal finances,” said DAV National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “Veterans know too well that you can diligently plan for countless possible scenarios, but sometimes things happen outside of our control. That’s where DAV and the PenFed Foundation Military Heroes Fund come in.”

“The PenFed Foundation is honored to partner with DAV to support our veterans across the country who are experiencing a short-term financial hardship,” said PenFed Foundation Programs Director Mark D. Smith. “Through this innovative partnership, the foundation provides timely financial counseling and assistance for past-due mortgage, rent, car payment, insurance or utility payments to veterans, referred by DAV national service officers across the country, who have a genuine financial need, preventing a short-term challenge from becoming a larger crisis.”

Veterans must be willing to complete a complimentary, over-the-phone financial counseling session to take part in the program.

“This is not a bailout for significant debt but a lifeline for those who need a helping hand to get stable again,” said Marszalek. “Life happens. DAV and the PenFed Foundation are here to help.”