Posted in Builders
Building More Than Homes
Over the past few years, the economic downturn has affected everyone in the building industry. In spite of these challenging market conditions, the building community continues to generously give back, providing homes and hope for families and organizations across the country.
“Homebuilders are making extra- ordinary sacrifices as they try to survive the ongoing economic downturn, and yet their generous spirit continues to shine in selfless acts of charity every day across the country,” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home- builder from Reno, Nev. “NAHB’s members are doing everything in their power to help others and preserve the American Dream of homeownership for those who are less fortunate.”
That spirit of generosity is true of homebuilders,manufacturers,suppliers and professionals across the building industry who are making a difference that goes beyond giving back to building community on a much deeper level. Being at the heart of the community is simply the nature of the industry.
Calling Tennessee Home
Many in the industry have embraced our nation’s veterans, giving back to those who’ve sacrificed so much for our country. Award-winning Middle Tennessee builder Goodall Homes recently joined forces with Operation Finally Home and engineered wood manufacturer LP Building Products to build a home for combat veteran Shaun Meadows and his family.
Meadows was selected to receive a new house by Operation Finally Home, which works with Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to hand- pick wounded and disabled veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as well as widows and widowers of the fallen who will receive custom-made, mortgage- free homes.
While deployed in Afghanistan in 2008, Meadows was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) and became a bilateral above-knee amputee. Following his injury, Meadows had a year-long stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for rehabilitation. He began walking with prosthetics two and a half months post injury and started running within six months. Meadows retired from the Air Force in 2011 and moved to Tennessee.
Goodall Homes broke ground on Meadows’ new home on Veterans Day in 2011.
“We’re still kind of in awe,” Meadows said. “I was planning to start on the home myself within the next few years, but then Operation Finally Home surprised us. Now the worry and stress of being able to provide a home for my family is gone. The burden has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Shaun Meadows and his wife and son were given the keys to their dream home, which Meadows designed, at a celebration event on May 24, just before Memorial Day. The 3,500-square- foot home incorporates a number of features to accommodate Meadows’ needs and includes a wrap-around porch, a screened-in area, a fireplace, and a gazebo.
“They’ve built a high quality home, and I feel lucky that I actually get to live in it,” said Nicole Meadows, Shaun’s wife. “It’s overwhelming the compassion people have with all the volunteers and people coming from all over the place just to put it together. Goodall and LP definitely made a dream come true and set a new course for our lives.”
Goodall Homes led the build from start to finish. “Our mission to hand this hero and his family the much- deserved keys to a custom-made home drove this project,” said Keith Porterfield, chief operating officer for Goodall Homes. “We’re so thankful for all of the local businesses and contractors who helped make this build happen.”
From suppliers to subcontractors, local businesses from across Middle Tennessee partnered with Goodall Homes to provide the materials and labor for the project.
“Everything that went into this home—the time, the labor, the materials—was donated by people from our industry,” said Rick Olszewksi, executive vice president of specialty products, sales and marketing at LP. “We’re all still working through the effects of the recession, but that didn’t stop this group from taking on this project for Shaun’s family. Seeing it all come together is an extraordinary feeling.”
A Place to Call Home in Texas
One project in Nacogdoches, Texas, brought together people from multiple points along the supply chain to provide shelter for victims of house fires.
A victim of arson as a young boy, George Barham, owner of the full-service real estate brokerage firm Barham Properties, wanted to build a house for fire victims in his community. To make it happen, Barham teamed up with Fire Rescue House, a nonprofit organization that provides families with the support and time they need to begin rebuilding their lives after losing their homes to fire.
“This project was born from my desire to give back to my community,” Barham said. “I personally donated the land the house is sitting on, but I just had to have faith that the supplies would come in.”
Barham wasn’t disappointed. Dan Sestak from McCoys Nacogdoches, a local lumber and building supplier, heard about the project. He worked with his manager Marshall Anderson to get their supplier involved. Kirk Colvin and Lester Lackey with Boise Cascade in Sugar Land, Texas, stepped forward to help.
“We donated several products that fit well with a home for people coming out of fire situations,” Colvin said. “Having products with burn ratings would provide extra safety measures.”
Colvin’s team went to a number of manufacturers seeking products for the home. LP Building Products donated LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing.
With building materials secured, Barham is working with a number of local subcontractors to construct the house, which will be completed later this year. Although the Nacogdoches home is the first Fire Rescue House in Texas, there are currently four additional Fire Rescue Houses in Indiana and Kentucky.
“These Fire Rescue Houses wouldn’t happen without the support and generosity of our volunteers and sponsors. Local small businesses, large chains, hospitals, and even out of state companies pull together to donate the funds and materials to build our houses. Local contractors volunteer their time, sweat, and expertise to make this idea a reality,” said Jennifer Brumback, communications director for Fire Rescue House. “It is the amazing generosity of so many that has allowed us to help families who have had to rebuild after fire struck their lives.”
Discovering Hope in California
The desire to give back extends across the country, as evidenced by the efforts of Discovery Homes and the City of Dublin, Calif., to provide a new home for the School of Imagination and Happy Talkers.
Founded in 2001, the school is a nonprofit organization that provides speech, occupational and behavioral therapy services as well as inclusion educational opportunities where special needs preschool and kinder-garten children learn alongside their typically developing peers.
“As the program grew, we moved to eight temporary facilities within four years. With more than 300 children coming through our doors each week, we were on the brink of having to close down our program,” said Mitch Sigman with the School of Imagination. Discovery Homes stepped in to help.
“Former Mayor Janet Lockhart came to us when the school was looking for a new home, and we were on board,” said Dana Owyoung, director of residential operations and product development for Discovery Homes. “This is a unique school, so we tried to incorporate all of their needs in one facility.”
A significant change from the school's original location inside the Sigmans' home, the new two-story, 12,000-square-foot school opened its doors in October of 2011. Built by and on land donated by Discovery Homes, the new school includes imaginative classrooms, a playground and facilities for the school’s various services and programs.
Building the school’s new home wouldn’t have been possible without the sponsors, donors and volunteers. Construction partners included Real Protection Inc., El Dorado Stone, LP Building Products and Brand Guard Vents.
"It was really a miracle that Discovery Homes and the City of Dublin came together to make this possible," Sigman said. “To have Discovery build something that so far exceeded our expectations just blew us away."
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A Real Homerun
In Nashville, Tenn., a number of industry organizations came together to renovate the Music City Baseball Complex, a local park offering Nashville kids ages ten to twelve a safe place to learn the game while being a part of their community.
There’s no short list of industry donors, sponsors and volunteers who made the renovations possible. Participating businesses included HARDAWAY Construction, Kinkaid Construction Services, Groove Construction, Wolf and Travis Electric, Bill Reagan Roofing, Best Painting, Gant Plumbing, J&J Interior, Fuller Industries, Ferguson Enterprises, LP Building Products and Nashville Lumber.
The updated Music City Baseball Complex includes a newly renovated concession stand with a new roof, siding, and restrooms. Both fields have been equipped with new irrigation systems and new foul ball nets. Field Two has undergone extensive renovations, including laser leveling, new dirt, sod, bases and back stop as well as concrete work in the spectator area and dugouts.
Touchdown for Homes
Operation FINALLY HOME has also been hard at work in Chicago, partnering with local builder New American Homes and national initiative Touchdown for Homes to build a house that will be donated to a wounded veteran later this year.
Touchdown for Homes, a National Association of Home Builders and NFL Players Association initiative, brings together builders and retired professional football players to build and renovate homes for those in need. Members of The Chicago Former Players Chapter are helping build the Chicago home.
The 2,000-square-foot ranch house is being built according to the LIFEhouse design, which is a collaboration between New American Homes and the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.
The home will incorporate a ramp behind the front porch and wheelchair accommodations throughout, including an open floor plan with wide doorways and circulation areas and low counters in the kitchen and bathroom. The design also includes an elevator with access from the main floor and garage that leads to a finished basement and bathroom.
Starting with money from an anonymous donor, New American Homes has worked with the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago to gain additional support for the build, including donations from LP Building Products, Wausau Supply and Andersen Windows.
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