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EMPOWERMENT MAGAZINE

Table of Contents

Contributors:

SUMMER 2015

Antionette Kerr Founder & C.E.O.

Jill Burgess

EMPOWERMENT

Rosetta Clark Miriam Esquivel

MAGAZINE

Thomasville Housing Program Coordinator

Tori Houser

Promoting Financial, Community & Self Awareness

Ryan Jones Ken Lack Kassaundra S. Lockhart Josh Monk

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A Salute to Our Veterans Community Champion Bruce Cross

A Parade of Honor

8 A Collection of Resources

10 & 11 Veterans Resource Event

Emily Kepley Moss

5 Tees for Keys Golf Tournament

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Designed by

Tribute to American Legion Post 255

9 Vets can benefit from DC resources

LHCDC Staff Antionette Kerr, Executive Director Margaret Strickland, Bookkeeper Olivia Gaddy Fisher, Housing Program Director

Keith McCurdy, Construction Coordinator Jimmy Cox, Director of Repair

Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation lexingtoncdc.com

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(336) 236-1675 p • (336) 236-9408 fax

Ladies for Liberty

The Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation’s Empowerment Magazine will serve as a resource of knowledge, information and empowerment for Davidson County. The magazine will feature articles and briefs such as but not limited to housing, financial literacy, community development, revitalization, foreclosure, education, self improvement, community champions and upcoming events. We will seek to always provide the citizens of Davidson County with the most current and accurate information that is available.


“Poor is the Nation that has no heroes, but beggared is the Nation that has and forgets them.” -Veteran’s Administration Secretary Robert A. McDonald

A Salute to Our Veterans Several years ago a client and current board member of Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation approached our agency about social services and housing needs for veterans. Mr. Robert Curlee, who is also a Vietnam veteran and now commander of American Legion Post 255, wanted to ensure that other veterans in our community were connected with services and assistance. He and the post helped our staff to understand the special needs of the population and alerted us to the fact that most veterans are unaware of the services available to them. Since then, we have assisted several veterans and their families through our homeownership and home repair programs. We have made homes more accessible to disabled veterans with wheel chair ramps and we have connected veterans with VA home loans. We hope that this issue of Empowerment will provide help, resources and information for veterans and their families. As the daughter of an Army veteran of the Korean War, I truly understand the sacrifices that the men and women of the military make in order to protect our freedom. I would like to express my appreciation for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the American Legion and the Lexington Area Community Foundation for helping us honor those who have served with this edition of Empowerment.

Empowerment Magazine | SUMMER

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Community Champion SUMMER 2015

Bruce Cross

VETERAN CONTINUES LIFE OF SERVICE By Kassaundra S. Lockhart

Not only has upkeep of the post been a major initiative for Cross, educating his fellow veterans has also been at the forefront. “We’ve held seminars for veterans. We have brought people in who take claims for veterans. Some of If you have lived in Lex- the veterans were eligible for claims through the (Veteran ington long enough, you Administration) after submitting,” explained Cross. know Bruce Cross has In the midst of serving his country and community, done it all. Well, almost. Cross also managed to carve out some time for a career. He has served on the board for Lexington After stops at PPG and the world of self-employment, Housing Community De- Cross found his niche working at ABC 45/48, rising to velopment Corporation, the position of senior account executive before retiring in Lexington Housing Au- 2009. thority, the City of LexDespite being retired, Cross continues to stay active in ington Planning Board his community. A man of faith, Cross enjoys spending his and Utilities Commission, free time serving the members of his place of worship, and he currently serves on First Baptist Church, Village Drive, where he is the chairthe City of Lexington Redevelopment Commission, just man of the Trustee Board. Regardless of how heavily into name a few. As evidenced by those few tidbits, it is clear volved in the community he is, Cross’ number one priority to see that service is at the heart of who Cross is. remains his family. He has been married to the former This value was engrained into the fiber of Cross as a Robbie Neely for 44 years. The couple has two children, young boy. A native of Lexington, Cross graduated from Bruce Cross Jr. and Kenye Pierce along with one grandDunbar High School in 1967 and entered the U.S. Air son, Preston Pierce, whom Bruce Cross admits to spoiling Force in 1968. In 1972, he was honorably discharged. every chance he gets. Soon after, his call to service led him to join the Air NaIn the rare instances where Cross manages to find free tional Guard where he served until 1999. time, he enjoys traveling. His time spent in the Air NaIn the Air National Guard, Cross served under a tem- tional Guard honed his love for traveling. Through service porary duty status which allowed him to fulfill his require- to his country, he was able to travel to numerous counties ments to his country anywhere from one week to a month such as Belgium, Amsterdam, Japan, Guam and Panama. multiple times a year. As a first sergeant, Cross was re- A licensed travel agent, one of his favorite travel escapades sponsible for coordinating the arrival of troops in areas is going on cruises. “I do cruises every year,” said Cross. “I try to take a group some place. I’ve been doing it for embroiled in conflict. the last seven years.” Since 2013, Cross has served as the commander of Cross’ love for his community keeps him constantly on Banks Miller American Legion Post 255. While talking with him, it is easy to pick up on his excitement and pride the go. However, you will not hear Cross complaining bethat he has for the post. Cross has been a member for 14 cause he truly enjoys serving. years and served in many capacities before becoming “I try to stay involved in the community and in activities Commander. because I believe in doing stuff for the community. I be“One of the things I wanted to do was (focus on) up- lieve in helping as many people as I can. I enjoy it,” said keep of the post,” said Cross. “We’ve had the post Cross, excitedly. painted. We’ve put signs out in the front. We brought in I think it is safe to say that for the foreseeable future, new coolers, a new stove and refrigerators.” Bruce Cross will not be slowing down anytime soon. 4


Corporate Sponsors: City of Lexington – Utilities Law Office of Michael Swann Marc Lamoureaux Construction & Development Mountcastle Insurance Parrott Insurance & Benefits

Silver Sponsors: Best Realty – Harvey Dick Carolina Drawers, Inc. Carolina Investment Properties HomeTrust Bank Lexington Civitan Club Joni Walser/GE Foundation Sandy & Terry Reynolds

Bronze Sponsors: Drs. Charles & Kevin Hoover Christa & Harry Grier G. W. Smith Lumber Company Hanes Paving Company Masterwrap, Incorporated Robert L. Curlee Sylvia & John Walser Woodforest Bank

11 11thth Annual Annual

Harvey Harvey H. H. Dick Dick Tees Tees for for Keys Keys Golf Golf Tournament Tournament Winning Teams: 1st Place

-Masterwrap, Inc.Richard Goff Lee Crisp Marc Frye Scott Bauer

2nd Place

-Parrott InsuranceMac Parrott Skip Tussey Leon Rives Jim Nance

3rd Place

Jeff Matthews Larry Link Michael Holshouser Jim Holshouser

Hole Sponsors: Al Armstrong – Disc Jockey Service Bank of North Carolina Byerly Shoaf & Co. LLC Bunce Buildings Charles Harp II PC Cindy McNeill Classic Metals Davidson Funeral Home Davidson Sash & Door Davidson Speed Printing Edward Jones – Varner, Jackson, Parsons, Dasch & Schoonmaker Facility Logistic Services Frank Callicutt Gayle & Jim Burke

Grace Episcopal Church Habitat for Humanity – Lexington Haven Redevelopment Group Hugo & Sue Hodgin Jerry Laws, DDS Johnson Electric Company Jeff Moorefield & Sandy Walker Jo Peoples Karen & Sid Biesecker Kelly Office Solutions Ken G. Auman DDS Lake Front Properties Lanier Hardware Leonard Craver Realty Inc. Lexington Chiropractic & Wellness Lexington/Davidson

Association of Realtors Melinda & Guy Smith Miles Cleckley Orrell’s Food Service Rives & Associates Sara & Bill DeLapp Simrel Plumbing Sim & Marie Siceloff SII Dry Kiln Stewart Physical Therapy Tastings Wine and Beer Teen & Tim Timberlake The Candy Factory The Glass Shop The Write Folks

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A Tribute to American Legion Post 255

By Kassaundra S. Lockhart

Banks Miller American Legion Post 255 is a cornerstone in the African American community. Affectionately known as “the hut,� Post 255 opened in the early 1950s as the first American Legion in Davidson County that African Americans could join.

Kassaundra S. Lockhart is an Independent PR/Marketing Consultant.

The post was originally named Dorie Miller Post in honor of Miller, who served as a cook in the U.S. Navy. Miller was aboard the USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite not having the proper training, in an effort to save his fellow countrymen, Miller successfully shot down a plane during the attack. For his efforts, Miller was hailed as a hero throughout the African American community and the naming of the post reflected his impact. The post later added the name Banks in honor of Lexington native, Richard Banks, who was killed during the Vietnam War. Decades after its opening, Banks Miller Post 255 continues to serve as a gathering spot for local African American veterans. As is the trend with most posts, Banks Miller has seen a decrease in their membership numbers due to the fact that the desire of veterans to belong to an organization that is connected to their service is not as prominent as it once was. The post is seeking younger members who can carry on its rich tradition and heritage. A membership fee of $26 a year helps the post serve not only veterans but the community as well. As with many organizations that have been in operation for decades, the post has thrived under the leadership of numerous veterans. Past commanders include: Sam Franklin Young, Pop Bradshaw, George Singleton, Shando Michael, Clarence Anderson, Delos Marshall, John O. Neely, Leon Craven, Alonzo Gill, LM Lockhart, Tony Henderson, Sylvester Holt, Walter Ford, Robert Henderson, Ray Richards, Herman Carr, Jr. and Lewis Hargrave. As part of our initiative to highlight veterans in this issue of Empowerment Magazine, we asked members of Banks Miller Post 255 to answer a few questions regarding their experience as a member of this organization.

Banks-Miller Post 255 Members Alvin Hoover : Air Force & Army, Vietnam War Veteran Foster Ter r y: Marine Corps, Vietnam War Veteran Her man Car r : Army, Vietnam War Veteran John E. Medley: Army, Korean War Veteran Rober t Curlee: Army, Vietnam War Veteran Dwight Talber t: Army, Vietnam War Veteran Br uce Cross: Air Force

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How long have you been a member of Banks Miller American Legion Post 255? Hoover : Eight years Ter r y: 11 years Car r : 13 years Medley: 14 years Curlee: Six years Talber t: Two years Cross: 14 years

Why did you join Banks Miller American Legion Post 255? Hoover : To give back to the community and help other veterans. Ter r y: Because I am a veteran. Every veteran should belong to a post. Car r : I wanted to be a part of post 255. Medley: I always wanted to join. Curlee: I wanted to serve my community. Talber t: A friend asked me to join.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of Banks Miller American Legion Post 255? Hoover : Fellowshipping with other members and veterans. Ter r y: Serving the community. Car r : Working with veterans. Curlee: Getting involved in community activities. Talber t: It gives me something else to do.

What would you like for people to know about Banks Miller American Legion Post 255? Ter r y: The history of the post. Car r : The work we do for fellow veterans. Curlee: That it is a community-oriented post. Talber t: Post 255 is a very good post to belong to.

Do you have any suggestions for how citizens in the community can better serve veterans such as yourself, who fought to ensure our freedom? Hoover : Support veteran organizations worldwide. Curlee: Support post functions. Talber t: Help out more. Cross: Say thank you more often. We are grateful for the veterans of Banks Miller American Legion Post 255, who have unselfishly put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. Your sacrifice is worthy of daily gratitude. From us to you, thank you.


A Parade of Honor, Respect and Memories By Miriam Esquivel I still remember the anticipation and excitement I felt as a child knowing there was going to be a parade in my town. I always looked forward to seeing the men and women in uniform holding flags and marching in straight lines, all without skipping a beat. I didn’t know much about them at the time but I knew I admired them for their ability to walk confidently without ever looking down. I remember they held their heads up high, looking straight forward as if their feet were trained to take steps on their own.

put together a golf tournament that happens early in May. The festivities begin on the Saturday before Memorial Day with the “Gathering of Eagles” reception. Dinner and a memorial service follow on Sunday evening along with live entertainment for families to enjoy.

As I grew older, I learned the important role that these men and women play in our society and in our country and it made me gain even more respect for them. Knowing that because of them we are a free nation made my admiration for them grow deeper. Still to this day, I look forward to attending the parade that honors the many heroes who paid the price for our freedom.

The N.C. Memorial Day Parade is usually the final event of the celebration and in my opinion is one of the most impressive parades I have ever been to. Every year I look forward to shaking hands with the men and women who continue to gift their time and dedication, not only to our community but to our country as a whole.

I never knew what it took for a parade to be so organized and successful until I was given the opportunity to meet Mr. Joe Leonard, a well-respected Veteran who happens to be the event coordinator for the annual North Carolina Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony in Thomasville. I explained to Mr. Leonard that I was always curious as to how things come together for this parade and he was kind enough to extend an invitation for me to be a guest during one of the Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony Committee meetings to discuss the planning of the 28th annual parade. I was pleased to accept the invitation and enjoyed being able to see what it takes. Let me tell you, this organization runs a tight ship and they work extremely hard to make sure everything sails smoothly so that we can all enjoy this special celebration. Hundreds of volunteers and countless hours go into making this memorable event happen. During the meeting, I learned that Thomasville’s Memorial Day celebration is not limited to just the parade. The committee also works hard to

On Monday morning, a service is held at the N.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. This includes paratroopers jumping from helicopters at 3,500 ft. in the air to present the families of our fallen heroes with awards and special recognition.

During a conversation with Mr. Joe Leonard, I asked, “What is it that keeps the Veterans going as an organization and what drives them to continue bringing us this celebration every year?” His answer:

“For most people, Memorial Day represents the beginning of spring and most people look forward to family vacations, personal celebrations and a day off from work. Those are all great things, but we also want people to remember the American lives that were the price paid for our freedom and because of those heroes, we are able to do all of those great things freely. It is the gratitude and appreciation of the people that keep us going. The hugs, the handshakes and the love we receive in return.” Next time you are in the presence of one of our American heroes, make sure to demonstrate gratitude and display face to face appreciation. A short “thank you” and a handshake can go a long way for those who gave all, those who gave some, and those who keep on giving.

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A Collection of Resources from loan officer Jill Burgess Not a day goes by that I do not receive a call from someone asking me about loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and how they work. Given that I have been providing these loans to my clients for two decades, I decided to write up a summary that will help answer some of the most frequently-asked questions and help our veterans on the path to homeownership. As a loan officer with Peoples Home Equity, Inc., I am always available to answer questions not covered here. I can be reached at JBurgess@PeoplesHomeEquity.com.

What is a VA loan? VA loans are home loans for the purchase of a primary residence available to consumers who have served or are presently serving in the U.S. military. While the VA does not directly lend money for loans, it backs loans made by private lenders such as banks, savings and loans associations, and mortgage companies to veterans who qualify.

Who is eligible for a VA loan? Veterans Active-duty personnel Reservists/National Guard members Some surviving spouses

An assumable mortgage Right to prepay without penalty A warranty from builder and assistance from the VA to obtain cooperation of builder for homes inspected by the VA during construction VA assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty

How can veterans get VA loans? Veterans can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan program, but will first need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to prove to the lender they are eligible. Lenders can also obtain certificates on behalf of their clients.

How to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility What are the benefits of a VA loan? The following information is taken directly from www.va.gov

No down payment required (unless required by the lender or if the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property) Buyer informed of reasonable value Negotiable interest rate Ability to finance the VA funding fee (plus reduced funding fees with a down payment of at least 5 percent and exemption for veterans receiving VA compensation) Closing costs are comparable with other financing types and may be lower in some instances No mortgage insurance premiums

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Eligibility requirements are available at benefits.va.gov/homeloans

How much can a veteran finance with a VA loan? According to the VA there is no maximum that an eligible veteran may borrow using a VA-guaranteed loan. However, there are calculations to determine the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. Generally, an eligible veteran may obtain a loan for up to $417,000 with no down payment but in some areas with a higher cost of living veterans may qualify for up to $1,094,000.


Local veterans can benefit from DC ‐ based resource In late May, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-12th, announced a hotline for veterans throughout North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District. According to a press release, the hotline features a telephone number that veterans can call dedicated to providing legislative updates, as well as an email address that veterans can use to request casework assistance. The hotline will be operated by the congresswoman’s staff. “Our veterans have sacrificed and put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and to keep us safe,” said Adams. “We owe it to them to ensure support and resources are easily accessible and readily available. I come from a family of veterans and they will remain a priority for me in Congress. I encourage every veteran in North Carolina’s 12th District and their family to use my veterans’ hotline if they need assistance or want to learn more about Congressional issues impacting them.” There are more than 37,000 veterans in North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District. Adams’ veterans hotline is available for veterans who need help obtaining benefits, fixing their military records or need assistance with other issues that concern the Department of Veterans Affairs. The hotline will be available during normal office hours.

Details for the Veterans Hotline: Veteran Legislative Updates: 202-225-7475

Veteran Casework Assistance: VAHelpNC12@mail.house.gov

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Veterans Resource Event 2015

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Sponsored by The Lexington Area Community Foundation

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Ladies for Liberty help Thomasville celebrate Memorial Day The 1940’s-inspired band, Ladies for Liberty came to the North Carolina Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony in Thomasville to help bring us back to the era of World War II. An audience of around 300 veterans and their By Tori Houser families along with citizens from Thomasville Tori Houser is a sophomore at West came out to enjoy this wonderful performance. Davidson High School & an intern The group’s name was chosen by band for Empowerment Magazine founder, Wanda Martin, because she wanted to focus on patriotic, Andrew Sisters-style music to keep alive the spirit and styles of the World War II era. The singing troupe was represented in Thomasville by three of their 12 members, all of whom travel internationally to provide nights full of remembrance and thankfulness through hair styles, period-appropriate costumes, and vocals reminiscent of the 1940’s. The Ladies for Liberty sent three groups to perform at various locations during Memorial Day weekend. Member Danna Ashley of southern Indiana stated that the goal of Ladies for Liberty, founded in 2008, is to “honor both fallen and active veterans and celebrate music from the 1940’s and, in particular, World War II.” Ashley, a Mrs. Indiana pageant winner, recently joined the group after a friend asked her to audition. She has been a singer all her life and holds a degree in music. Ashley shared that honoring those who gave their lives in battle and helping survivors reminisce is the most meaningful part of performing. She wants to ensure we never lose sight of all the freedom our country has because of the bravery of past and current veterans. She enjoys meeting veterans from all over the country in her travels and hopes she can help them remember good memories they had from a very hard time in their lives. The Ladies for Liberty program included songs such as, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “America, the Beautiful,” “God Bless the USA,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The audience clapped and sang along; some even danced during the performance, proving the crowd both knew and enjoyed the songs. The Memorial Day program opened with an introduction of dignitaries as well as recognizing members of the audience who had served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard. Not only were these veterans excited to attend the program but a few of them came dressed in their uniforms. They also recognized the service of military veterans from Thomasville who are no longer with us. The three Ladies for Liberty performers stayed after their show to sell and autograph CDs, pose for photos, and speak to members of the audience. Each band member took time to answer all questions and let audience members reminisce with them.

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Empowerment june 15 no bleed (1)  

Summer 2015 Issue of Empowerment Magazine of Davidson County

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