By Chuck N. Baker
(Nevada) — The headline may well be redundant, but it’s absolutely correct. The national non-profit Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) provides brand new homes for eligible veterans.
The organization believes in “Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives.” A spokesman said rebuilding lives is the most important aspect of its mission, and a representative remains with participating veterans after home delivery. Homes For Our Troops provides a professional for three years to assist in financial planning and household budgeting. The service includes homeownership education and warranty coverage to ensure long-term success. The organization focuses on follow-up with its veteran owners, and a peer mentoring program helps veterans and spouses. To improve support, the company continues to expand its network of nonprofits, corporations and government entities to provide assistance with employment, education, training, health and related issues. They strive to provide linkage between a veteran and any assistance needed. There is a comprehensive selection process and the organization builds where a veteran wants to live. As a charity, it reports that nearly 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to program services.
HFOT builds homes as a pivotal point for veterans to rebuild their lives, and to once again become highly productive members of society. Despite their life-altering injuries, many participating veterans have embarked on new careers, completed their college degrees and/or started families after moving into one of their new homes. Empowered by the freedom a donated, specially adapted custom home brings, veterans can then focus on recovery and returning to their life’s work. Many have embraced roles as motivational speakers, sharing messages of persevering through tragedy with groups and classrooms around the country. Others take to a national platform to promote awareness of veteran suicide, homelessness and PTSD. “Their incredible stories are the driving force for the work accomplished at Homes For Our Troops,” the spokesman said.
Although HFOT is located in Massachusetts, it builds homes where veterans want to live. Currently three homes have been completed in the Silver State. Navy veteran Ruben Cervantez lives in Las Vegas, Marine Corps Sgt. Kenneth “Dylan” Gray lives in Wellington, and Army Sgt. Timothy Hall resides in Hawthorne. In addition, plans for three more homes are currently in progress. Air Force MSGT Christopher Aguilera has plans to live in Henderson, Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse will live in Las Vegas as will Army Specialist Blaine Sullivan.
Cervantez was a Navy Corpsman 2nd Class who deployed to Iraq in 2005. During that overseas assignment and others between 2007 and 2009, he was injured by multiple improvised explosive devises, and at one time was rendered unconscious. His injuries led to his medical retirement in 2012. Married with four children, Cervantez heard about HFOT and applied, and was subsequently accepted into the program.
Sullivan was a member of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. While serving in Afghanistan, he was carrying an injured comrade to safety and was wounded by an improvised explosive device. The blast resulted in the loss of his right leg and severe damage to his right arm. Back in the States, he began a year of recovery at Balboa Naval Medical Center in California. A Las Vegas native, he is ever grateful for his HFOT home. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to be honored with such a generous gift. My family and I are beyond excited at the thought of me being in an environment which will truly give me independence and let me focus on healing,” he said.
Veterans Aguilera, Gray, Hall and Poppenhouse all have similar expressions of gratitude. Severely injured post-9/11 veterans who have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis and/or severe traumatic brain injuries find that the homes restore some of the freedom and independence sacrificed while defending the nation. To learn how to apply for the program, or for more general information, send an email email@example.com.
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