Mass. CUs weather cold to build home for injured vet
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Despite freezing temperatures, hundreds of volunteers, including many from Massachusetts area credit unions, joined the Homes for Our Troops "Build Brigade" Dec. 11-13 in Middleboro, Mass., to build a home for an injured vet.
They built a specially adapted home for Army SSG Michael Downing and his family. Downing lost his legs during combat in Afghanistan during his second tour of duty there in 2008, according to the Massachusetts Credit Union League (E-Weekly Dec. 16).
The announcement that Downing's home would be the organization's next project was made in June at the Homes for Our Troops Gala in Boston. Title sponsors of that event were the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island.
Before raising the first wall, the group held an opening ceremony with speakers including Daniel F. Egan, president of the three leagues; John Gonsalves, founder and president of Homes for Our Troops; and Col. Jack Hammond, chief of staff, and Lt. Col. Art Elfman, both of the Massachusetts National Guard.
Volunteers will work on the home throughout the winter, with Downing and his family planning to move in next spring.
Homes for Our Troops has built 40 homes for severely injured veterans and has nearly 30 more projects in progress. Credit unions have been involved in building homes in several states, including Missouri and projects during the presidential campaign national conventions last year in Colorado and Minnesota.