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MVTF partnership provides home repairs for Navy veteran

collage of photos of a home before and after improvements and with the owner standing out frontNavy veteran Gerald Prestler received life-changing assistance from the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF), along with support from Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, Home Depot Foundation and National Guard Association of Michigan.

Prestler’s modest Lansing home had numerous issues, including a leaking roof. The 76-year-old had never heard of the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund or other available resources until one of his sisters mentioned she had heard of Vietnam War-era veterans getting help with similar issues.

Prestler, who was a communications technician and Spanish linguist based in Cuba in the late 1960s, didn’t think he qualified. Still, his sister encouraged him to contact a Veteran Service Officer at the Ingham County Department of Veterans Affairs, who helped make the connection with the MVTF and Habitat for Humanity.

Through a multi-agency collaboration, Prestler’s home now has a new roof, renovated porch, new siding and windows, a new tankless water heater and other upgrades. His VSO also was able to secure Prestler a monthly pension from the VA due to his financial situation.

“This has truly been a life-changing experience,” said Prestler. “I’m really enjoying my newly improved home and getting back into the swing of things. My home is now a breath of fresh air.”

Between the MVTF, Habitat for Humanity, Home Depot Foundation and National Guard Association of Michigan, the home repairs totaled around $32,000. By combining resources, the organizations can tackle bigger projects, said MVTF Director Lindell Holm.

“This partnership between organizations brings the added value of having boots on the ground to talk to the veteran, walk through the property and evaluate the project and the veteran’s living situation,” Holm said. “They have the same passion for helping our veterans that the Trust Fund does and are committed to overcoming obstacles and exploring solutions to reach that objective of providing a resolution for a veteran facing an emergency situation.”

In addition, he said, “Our county partners are integral to the process by talking to veterans about the Trust Fund, helping veterans to fill out the emergency grant applications and also connecting them with other needed resources.”

Since its inception in 1946, the MVTF has helped veterans of every wartime era overcome unexpected expenses ranging from utility bills to home repairs to mortgage assistance and get back on their feet financially. To learn more about the Trust Fund, visit

To apply for emergency funds from the MVTF, veterans should contact the MVTF county committee serving the county where you reside or fill out and submit an Emergency Assistance Form.

Veterans can find a Veteran Service Officer by using our new search tool at or by calling 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838).