“I learned a lot about myself and life in general. The biggest gift my wife and I have gotten from my time in the Army is perspective. We know I could just not be here.”
Levi Ball spent four years in the United States Army working as a Chaplain’s Assistant in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “It was an exciting job, and I got to do a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have been able to do in a lot of other jobs. For the most part, I was by myself. My team was just the Chaplain and I. I was in lots of operations with the Chaplain because part of my job was to keep him safe. I was his bodyguard, and so I had a lot of responsibility.”
Levi comes from a long line of service members saying, “Pretty much all my family has been in the military. My grandfather was in Army, and I have two uncles who were in the Coast Guard and recently retired. My whole family was in service in some capacity, and it was something I wanted for my life too.”
Before joining the army, Levi was going to school full time and working three jobs. He says, “I was just worn out. My days were endless. I needed a change of pace because I was working so hard just to barely make it. In high school, I talked to recruiters about joining the Army, and I knew about the GI Bill. All around, joining the army when I did seemed like the best choice for my life, and I’m glad I did it.”
After basic training and AIT, Levi chose to volunteer to go to Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He says, “I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie, and I thought jumping out of planes sounded extremely cool. I knew it would be a blast. I couldn’t think of a reason not to do it.”
Army life has its ups and downs, but as Levi reflects on some of his best memories of his time in the Army, he says, “Honestly, I had a really good time in Afghanistan. We cruised around the mountains of Afghanistan looking for high-value targets. We often had missions that would last 30 or more days. I loved being out in the mountains with the guys, looking for the targets. It’s like camp, but with guns. I miss the guys, and the comradery, and what we did was a fun, and enjoyable experience. I got to do so stuff that I would enjoy or even pay to do, and I did it, and I was paid for it.”
“Once I got married to my wife Beth, and we had our first son, my second deployment gave me a big reality check. I missed my son’s entire first year of life, and that’s pretty hard still to make up for. It’s all still really hard, and at the time and it wasn’t something I was willing to do again. My original plan was to re-enlist to go to rotary wing aviation school. It was during my deployment to Iraq that Beth and I realized it wasn’t the life we wanted for kids and our family. The time spent apart was devastating for us, and although I learned a lot about myself and life, in general, I knew it was best that I get out and begin my life as a civilian. The biggest gift my wife and I have gotten from my time in the Army is perspective. We know I could just not be here. Our first years of marriage were spent apart from each other, so we don’t take our time together for granted. We don’t fight a lot, or ever, and we just know what matters in the big picture.”
After four years and six months on active duty, Levi was honorably discharged from active duty service and began his life as a civilian. Levi, his wife Beth and their young son moved from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Monterey, California with their best friends. Together, the two couples spent a year in California waiting for the government freeze on hiring new sheriffs deputies to end. When the hiring freeze went into its second year, the Ball family decided to move to Fargo, North Dakota to be closer to the family.
In Fargo, Levi found a job he enjoyed at a local manufacturing plant, and life in Fargo was great for the Ball family. “I ended up moving into a good position with a construction company, and it was perfect for me. I grew up doing construction with my grandfather. Together, we built my uncle’s home, so that position felt very natural for me. Fargo was a great place for my family to transition to being out of the Army fully because, during my time in Monterey, I was still in the reserves.
We spent a lot of time together and built a great bond with one another. However, both my brother and grandfather died while we were in Fargo. The family that we had in Fargo moved away, and we found ourselves alone in North Dakota. Together as a family, we decided we should look into moving back home to Eugene to be with family. We put our house up for sale, and it sold for more than asking in only two hours. I got a job in Eugene in commercial construction, and I like it a lot. I’m thinking that as my kids get older, I’d love to finish my engineering degree.”
Levi and his wife, Beth, have been married for 12 years, and together they have two young boys. In the family’s free time, they enjoy visiting the Oregon coast to collect agates and seashells.
Of Homes for Heroes Levi says, “I just now learned about the program. My wife and I are getting ready to buy a house in the next year, so we’ll for sure use the program. We wish we would have known about Homes for Heroes when we bought our first house!”
Families like Levi’s are why we, at Homes for Heroes, do what we do, because they have sacrificed so much for our country. We would love for you to sign up as well with Homes for Heroes so that we can help save you money and give back to you, our Hero!
Levi, we thank you and every service member for your dedication and commitment to serving your nation.