Panhandle Veterans Financial Assistance
Panhandle Veterans Financial Assistance (PVFA) came into existence in August of 2012. The local Roan Creek Chapter of the Marine Corps League held its annual fund raising golf tournament in July of 2012 and raised an good amount of money. The Marines wanted to do something useful and worthwhile with their funds so the idea of helping local veterans in need with financial assistance was decided upon. Norm Bearden and Melissa Kalka had previously worked on a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission to help veterans and the grant time had run out, so they both agreed this would be a wonderful and very much needed project. The Marine Corps League liked the idea and began to fund PVFA at this time, and it has continued with the wonderful spirit of generosity and helping from the Marine Corps League. The funds go to assist veterans of any age or branch of service that need some short term assistance. Upon applying for help and providing a Form DD214, proof of service, a committee of 5 reviews and makes the determination whether to assist or not. The assistance is provided for rent, utilities, car payment, car insurance, food, gasoline, or something considered a basic necessity. Funds are paid direct to the landlord, utility company or the vendor to cover these bills so there is an exact accounting of how the monies are spent. To date, PVFA has helped approximately 65 to 70 veterans, putting around $45,000 back into the Amarillo economy. This assistance has helped to prevent the disconnect of utilities, kept some from becoming homeless or having a vehicle repossessed. The ages of these veterans has varied from WWII to our recently discharged young men and women. Some have fallen on hard times due to loss of employment, they may be between jobs and just need some help until they get back on their feet. Some have needed assistance due to divorce, health problems and just curves that life throws. PVFA is all volunteer and works solely on donations, made through the Marine Corps League. It is very rewarding and the need in our area is great. It is really wonderful when a veteran gets back on his or her feet and actually pays back the money which helped them out, so another veteran can get help when in need, to pay-it-forward!