Local non-profit taking care of our homecoming heroes
KEYPORT — The gang from Keyport Fishery wasn't delivering a good seafood dinner or store-bought gifts to the home of Army Sgt. Michael Minard on Christmas Day. This one came from the hearts of many people.
Last night, for the first time since the first Bush administration, the media were allowed to be present for the homecoming of a fallen soldier. I didn’t watch the ceremony myself, but I did catch clips of it on NBC Nightly News, and the images got me thinking about our soldiers over in Iraq, and what people are doing to help them. A quick search led me to an article in The Republican about a non-profit group who builds homes for soldiers who were seriously disabled in the war: Homes for Our Troops.
Homes for Our Troops is a Taunton-based organization. Founded in 2004 by John Gonsalves, their mandate is simple: "We assist severely injured Servicemen and Women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and then coordinating the process of building a new home or adapting an existing home for handicapped accessibility. The finished home is then given to the veteran."
John Gonsalves, whom I hope to devote an entire post to, was a construction supervisor who set out on a mission to help the soldiers who have returned home, but are too young to afford a house on their own.
Homes for Our Troops has built dozens of home around the country, and are working on dozens more. In Massachusetts, Homes for Our Troops has completed two homes, one in Plymouth for Sergeant Brian Fountaine, and one in Middleboro for Sergeant Peter Damon. If you clicked in the article in the first paragraph, you’ll see that they’re working on more homes in the area. According to their website, there are three homes under way in Massachusetts, one in Cummington, MA for Sergeant Peter Rooney, another in Middleboro for Sergeant Michael Downing, and one in East Longmeadow for Sergeant Mark Ecker (pictured above).
Homes for Our Troops has several events happening in the Massachusetts area over the next month or so, if you are interested in attending and finding out more about this organization.
Silent Auction to Benefit Homes of Our Troops on April 17th, 2009 from 7:00-11:00pm
Providing for Our Patriots thru Homes for Our Troops on April 18th, 2009 from 6:30-Midnight
Cheering at the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2009
BatteriesPlus Ride for Injured Veterans on April 25, 2009 from 10am-1pm
If you can’t make it out to one of their events but want to help out, they also have a place to donate, either money, materials or labor to the cause.
If anyone attends one of these events, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear how it went.
Until next time, keep helping each other.