Veterans Appreciation Program Brings Deming Veteran’s Home to Vietnam

DEMING – Hard work and a humble existence are two traits Jim Little never took for granted. The Vietnam veteran who survived a house fire that claimed the life of a brother says he has much to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day. “I worked most of my life until my health told me I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t ask for much other than my family and especially my grandson,” Little said. at Headlight.

How did that happen

Now imagine how Little reacted to what he called “the surprise of my life” when he was visited by members of Veterans United Home Loans. The representative delivered a folder containing a letter from the organization’s #ThanksToVeterans campaign. The letter informed Little that the house he was renting had been fully paid for by Veterans United Home Loans. The rental had recently been put on the market for sale.

“I was so excited I didn’t have the words to express at that moment,” Little said. “I still don’t have the words to explain how I feel. I never wanted anything special from the VA (Veterans Administration). Everything has been wonderful, and I don’t know how much it can get better. It’s been a blessing – that’s for sure.

“Being a veteran means a lot to me. I tried my whole life to work for what I needed. But everyone needs a glass of water once in a while.

Deming native and Vietnam veteran Jim Little is moving into a home he can call his own.

Thanks to veterans

Veterans United has launched #ThanksToVeterans, honoring veterans like Jim not just for their service in uniform, but for their life of community service afterwards. As the initiative’s first expression of gratitude, the company recognizes veterans who make their communities stronger, safer and better places to live.

Recognizing veterans who make their communities stronger, safer and better places to live, we’ve created a mini-documentary highlighting Jim and through this letter from Veterans United Home Loans is when he discovered that his house had been paid for in full.

Domestic Service

Jim enlisted in the army in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War. It was a time when the nation was divided over the war that would span 12 years and cost the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. My best friend Samuel Nunn preceded me and I followed,” Jim said. “He failed to come back. The day I was going to leave for Vietnam, I asked if they would let me attend Samuel’s funeral, and they did.

Jim served for three years and was in the conflict for 20 months as a heavy equipment operator.

Jim Little enlisted in the US Army in 1968 and served as a heavy equipment operator in Vietnam for a 20 month tour of duty.

“People didn’t like us very much,” Jim recalled when he got home. “It was about serving my country. It meant a lot to me and I would do it again if I could. I’m sure they would find something for me to do. I would never turn away from it.”

Deming is home

Jim returned to the United States in 1971 and began working for the family drilling business in Deming which his grandfather had started in 1936. He moved away for a brief stint to drive trucks in the oilfields and worked as a cook in what was once the Jord Inn. at the Deming road terminal.

“You have to have four or five skills to make a decent living these days,” Jim told Headlight. “I always worked until I couldn’t anymore.”

Fire

A Jim in a wheelchair looked back on the morning of early October in 2020.

“I still don’t know how the fire started that day,” Jim said. “I think it may have something to do with my brother’s smoking and the oxygen he needed at home.”

Jim’s grandson stayed in the house that night while Jim slept in the Cantina – a cabin he converted into an adjacent tool shed with a cot.

“My grandson got out of the house by breaking a window and jumping,” Jim recalled. “He came to get me, but my brother Scott didn’t make it.”

The house is still standing and is a total loss. Luckily, Jim found the rental house he now lives in just down the street on South Granite.

Working with the family drill crew in Deming, NM.

restart

La Cantina was home for a while. Jim began experiencing a series of health issues that saw him in and out of the VA hospital last year.

Well enough to return to Deming, Jim found the current house he is renting and was directed to Veterans United Home Loans on a computer which took him to the #ThanksToVeterans program. I never asked for much, but I understood what there was to lose. I’ve lost my house to fire before,” Jim said.

The program is currently campaigning for an 11th veteran to receive their dream home. The link is https://www.thankstoveterans.com/ where veterans can enter.

Jim has a close bond with his 15-year-old grandson, Matthew. “He’s here most of the time. He is like a sponge. He wants to suck up what all the elders know,” Jim said. The two share a love for hunting and fishing.

“None of this could have happened without Veterans United,” Jim said, his voice cracking. “I had no idea how it was going to be. The only thing I know is that you make the most of what you have and share it with others.

Jim’s surprise link: https://www.thankstoveterans.com/jim/.

Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (leave a message) or biarmendariz@demingheadlight.com.

Jim Little sees a lot more hunts down the road.

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