Stockton University student veteran George Franklin “Frank” Ball and his wife, Tameka, received the keys to a mortgage-free home in Barnegat, N.J. on Wednesday, thanks to the Military Warriors Support Foundation and Wells Fargo.
Ball, now 41, received a Purple Heart due to his injuries from the war in Iraq. He applied for the home through a program that awards houses to military personnel seriously injured in the line of duty or to Gold Star families, the survivors of someone killed in the service.
Wells Fargo donates homes to the Military Warriors Foundation for its Homes4WoundedHeroes program. Since 2012, Wells Fargo has donated more than 300 homes, valued at over $50 million, to veterans in all 50 states.
“I was a Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander on patrol in Iraq and I was trying not to hit someone’s house while avoiding a mine,” he said. “But a piece of the mine hit me in the head and lacerated my scalp and gave me a traumatic brain injury. That and back injuries put me out of the Army. I had a whole slew of memory issues and still have some.
“But I still don’t feel like I deserve this kind of thing,” Ball said of the three-bedroom house. “There are guys a lot more hurt than I was.”
He was encouraged to apply for the program while living in Portland, Ore., where he was a student at Portland State University and worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs. He didn’t get a home there, but eventually learned there were also homes in New Jersey, near where he had grown up in the suburban Philadelphia-South Jersey area.
“My grandfather used to take me fishing at Barnegat Light. So I applied for a house in Barnegat,” he said.
He said he transferred to Stockton as opposed to other New Jersey schools because of the strength of the veterans program here. Stockton is ranked in the Top 20 among the best colleges and universities nationwide for veterans by the Military Times’ “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017,” and by the Online College Plan’s “Top 20 Best 4-Year Colleges for Veterans.”
“I chose to go to Stockton, which has a lot to do with how I felt about being supported as a veteran,” he said. Ball is scheduled to graduate in May 2018 with a B.A in Business Studies.
Photo courtesy of Wells Fargo
Cover Photo Caption:
Front row: Mary Yono, Wells Fargo district manager; Amanda Formica, Barnegat branch manager; Frank and Tameka Ball, new homeowners; Andrea Dellinger, vice president of Marketing for Military Warriors Support Foundation; Bill Westdyk, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage area manager. Back row: Darin Lugat, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage area manager.