Saying things like “support our troops” or “for the troops” has become so second-nature for us to say or acknowledge, much like saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. “Thank you for your service” is increasingly becoming an expected thing to say to an active duty serviceman or veteran, and we don’t always take the time to really acknowledge the sacrifice they made or are making for us.

Independence Day is a day of celebration where we all display our Americanism to the fullest, reveling that we live in the greatest country in the world. As you get situated back at work during this shortened holiday week, please take some extra time this weekend to acknowledge the sacrifices made to give us this . And if you happen to run into an active military member or veteran, whether on travels or in the neighborhood, take the time not just to thank them and shake their hand, but also to let them know how proud you are of them for their service. Even if they are a stranger. It’s the least you can do.

But if you are interested in doing something more…

Consider getting your company involved with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). HFOT is an amazing organization that pulls together donors, resources and funds to build wounded combat veterans a brand new, mortgage-free and specially-adapted house based on their handicap needs.

Since making our three-year “Operation: HVAC” pledge to support Homes For Our Troops and donate HVACR equipment to their next 100 builds starting this year, HARDI members have hit the 25 Confirmed Build Commitments mark. Just six months in, we are a fourth of the way there to keeping our promise as we continue to make strides in our effort to give back to our wounded veterans.

 

As many of you are well aware, the sense of community that HARDI members have is special. Having completed 25% of our goal supporting this cause is a testament to the values instilled in our member companies, and expressed from the owners to branch employees.

For many of these veterans that HFOT is involved with, the events of 9/11 compelled them to enlist. For some, it was a family tradition or an available next-step after graduating high school.  Regardless of their personal reason, they all felt compelled to fulfill the sense of duty to serve their country – to serve us.

In the sweltering desert heat in full heavy combat gear on the other side of the world, these soldiers were wounded on the front lines protecting our freedom and maintaining our safety against people who would see you, your friends, and your family harmed.

Now, they find themselves forever physically altered and adapting to a more challenging life as part of the price they paid for our freedom. Many of these veterans (that you can see in the links below) have to use prosthetic legs to walk because they’ve lost those limbs. As we can only imagine, that can be pretty painful after long periods of walking or on a day they are experiencing pain. Around the house, they tend to choose to use a wheelchair for comfort. These HFOT homes are built with wider hallways, doorways and open rooms to allow for better mobility and to prevent damage to walls. HFOT also compensates for wheelchairs by building kitchens with lower countertops and stoves, with special drop-down cabinet shelving. These are just a few examples of the attention to detail of care HFOT puts into these homes for a range of needs. When you have a moment, take some time to check out these veterans’ stories in the links below.

We sincerely thank all of the HARDI members who have supported HFOT through donating equipment, hosting fundraisers and giving monetary donations. It’s easy to appreciate the positive impact it will have on these veterans’ lives:

Sgt. Christopher Tarte – Refrigeration & Electric Supply

Cpl. Christopher Van Etten – Geary Pacific Supply

Sgt. Carl W. Moore III – Johnstone Ware Group

Army Sgt. Robert “Finn” Visbal – Mingledorff’s

Cpl. Luke Mcdermott – Meier Supply

Lcpl. John Curtin – Comfort Supply

Sgt. Richard “Tony” Doyle – Coastal HVAC Supply

Lcpl. Hector Luna Rodriguez – Robert Madden

Spc. Scott Balestra – Johnson Supply

Cpl. Aaron Jacinto – Johnson Supply

Tsgt. Daniel Fye – Gensco

Cpl. Steven Bultje – Standard Supply

Cpl. John Smith – AC PRO

Sgt. Lyndon Sampang – Meier Supply

Ssg. Joshua Hall – Team Air Distributing

Cpl. Josh Langston-White – Johnstone Ware Group

Spc. Steven Baskis – Charles D. Jones & Co.

Spc. Ryan Wilcox – ABR Wholesalers

Sgt. Omar Milan – Shearer Supply

Spc. Jarrod Addison – Johnstone Ware Group

Ssg. Michael Emory – Century A/C Supply

Lcpl. Sean Carroll – Gustave A. Larson Company

Lcpl. Matias Ferreira – ABCO HVACR Supply & Solutions

Spc. Alexander Hussey – Mar-Hy Distributors

Sgt. Jeffrey Hemenger – Century A/C Supply

Sgt. Juan Carlos Vasquez – Century A/C Supply

Cpl. Kevin McCloskey – Riley Sales and APR Supply Co.

If you are thinking about getting involved with Homes For Our Troops, either through Operation: HVAC or on an individual level, reach out to Alyssa Crooks at acrooks@hardinet.org to learn more about the organization.

Again, please remember to take a moment to appreciate what our freedom represents, and to remember those who make that freedom possible. From everyone here at HARDI, we wish you a great rest of your summer!

This article was published in the HARDI Summer 2017 Thermostatus Newsletter.

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