The Salvation Army recently received $169,000 from the Permian Basin Foundation to assist servicemembers and their families who are going through difficult financial hardships.

Active-duty, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers in need should contact their chaplain to obtain required forms and referrals in order to apply for the grant. Grant stipulations are as follows: Donations can only be provided to servicemembers who served either in, in support of, or are on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan operations.

Maj. Ron Wildman, El Paso County coordinator for the Salvation Army, said the foundation is flexible and provisions can be made for groceries, eye glasses, utilities, child care, rent, car and mortgage payments, and more. Wildman said the forms are required for proof and documentation purposes, as they have to report back to the foundation.

"We want to let the military know that we are here to serve and help them if they are in need," Wildman said. "The military social services you have now are one thousand times better than 22 years ago when I left the Marine Corps. Our sergeant major use to tell us, 'If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a life, they would have issued you one.' The military nowadays does a lot more to support families - and they should be commended for that - but sometimes their resources are limited, so this fills that gap."

Wildman said he knows some junior enlisted-servicemembers have big families and sometimes find themselves in difficult situations. He said it takes a couple of days to process the requests, so servicemembers should not wait until the last minute to apply.

The grant was given to the Salvation Army because another funding stipulation states that money will not be given to government or profit-making entities. Wildman said he does not think all the money will be spent, and therefore wants to make sure the information is disseminated throughout Fort Bliss.

"We recently found out we got additional funding and we want to make sure all the money is spent."

For more information about the program, call Wildman at 544-9811.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16