Bank of Amer­ica of­fers as­sis­tance for vet­er­ans

The Covington News - - The second front - PETE MECCA news@cov­news.com PETE MECCA Pete Mecca is a Viet­nam vet­eran, free­lance writer and colum­nist. You can contact him at avet­er­ansstory@gmail.com.

As the bank­ing in­dus­try re­ceives the brunt of criticism for un­pop­u­lar gov­ern­ment bailouts, reck­less lend­ing prac­tices, and has been the fa­vorite tar­get of politi­cians, ap­par­ently Bank of Amer­ica is at least try­ing to im­prove its im­age.

Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio’s broad­cast All Things Con­sid­ered re­ported in late Au­gust on a lit­tle-known Bank of Amer­ica pro­gram to do­nate dis­tressed or fore­closed homes to needy vet­er­ans and for char­i­ties as­sist­ing dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple. De­tails are a bit sketchy, but the pro­gram is gen­uine.

The Bank of Amer­ica man­ager and as­sis­tant-man­ager I ap­proached had not been ad­vised of the pro­gram, but the man­ager did re­search her cor­po­rate con­tacts and emailed me a list of as­so­ci­ates who would be knowl­edge­able of the of­fer. Bank of Amer­ica is one of the world’s ma­jor fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions with 5,600 re­tail bank­ing fa­cil­i­ties and 16,200 ATMs ser­vic­ing 40 coun­tries, so to ex­pe­ri­ence the frus­trat­ing nui­sance called ‘phone-tag’ was a given.

The ini­tial pro­gram an­nounced 2,500 prop­er­ties to be given away, yet the Aug. 28, email I re­ceived from their cor­po­rate head­quar­ters sug­gested only 1,000 prop­er­ties were avail­able for injured vet­er­ans and First Re­spon­ders. What­ever the num­ber may be, Bank of Amer­ica claims this is a three year com­mit­ment by their con­glom­er­ate.

Ev­i­dently, a lot of fin­gers are in a big pie with sev­eral slices re­main­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the email, only a few dozen homes have so far been do­nated. Nu­mer­ous non­profit fac­tions serv­ing mili- tary vet­er­ans are in­volved in vig­or­ous dis­cus­sions with Bank of Amer­ica, in­clud­ing Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity and other hous­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Good is be­ing done. As re­ported by Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio, an Army scout who took a bul­let through his neck in Afghanistan and lost a lung and sev­eral ribs dur­ing bat­tle­field surgery was given the keys to his new home in Au­gust. The vet­eran was ap­pre­cia­tive to be sure, but, as with most vet­er­ans, said so many oth­ers served longer, lost more, some didn’t make it, and he was hum­bled to re­ceive such a won­der­ful gift.

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion may be ob­tained re­search­ing Bank of Amer­ica’s web­site at bankofamer­ica.com. How­ever, a less-frus­trat­ing route may be to contact vet­eran-help groups such as: Mil­i­tary War­riors Sup­port Foun­da­tion, Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity, or a plethora of hous­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic.

If a hous­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion or vet­eran-sup­port group is not aware of this pro­gram, ask them to get in­volved, and quickly. Of­fers like this don’t hap­pen of­ten.

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