Army Veteran Steve Beres’ children know first-hand that war stretches well beyond the battlefield. When he was blinded and traumatically injured by an IED in the Middle East in 2004, it changed his childrens’ lives forever, too.
“It made them amazingly kind and caring people. They have a service-oriented, volunteering spirit that has ingrained itself in them,” Beres said. “They’ve gone with me to wounded warrior conferences where they help escort people around. I don’t think they think about it. They just jump right in there and say, ‘I want to do it!’”
In his role as Manager of Service Members and Veterans Affairs at Regions, Beres advocates for consistent, high-quality services for active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and individuals with disabilities.
“Whether it’s a single Soldier, Airman, Marine – when they ship out to a combat zone bills don’t stop. They have to deal with those unique financial needs your average citizen does not have,” Beres said. “We educate them about finances, teach them how to budget and become better money managers in the face of financial stressors that come with military life.”
Citing his tireless work on behalf of service members and veterans, Regions presented Beres the Better Life Award on Wednesday. The Better Life Award is the top honor given to a Regions associate for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.
In addition to the Better Life Award recognition, Regions donates $1,000 in the name of the recipient to a nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice. Beres chose H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, a nonprofit, collaborative effort amongst established non-governmental organizations designed to provide complete and proactive support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and post-deployment.
“At Regions we provide a 360 relationship for our customers where we partner with all areas of the bank to meet customer needs,” Beres said. “H.E.R.O.E.S. Care does the same for military members and veterans by partnering with subject matter experts in mental health, medical and housing. Regions is their financial partner and I’m proud to manage that relationship.”
Beres frequently travels the country, speaking to veterans’ associations, disability advocacy groups, schools for the blind and other organizations. His words have brought laughter, tears and, in at least one case, inspiration to serve the country: His son is now a U.S. Marine.
“Here’s a kid who grew up in a household knowing what happened to me and he still had that wanting to serve in his heart. After being around countless others who have also gone through life-changing injuries, he still decided to serve,” Beres said. “My son is my hero.”