Build a Home for the Brave" was the title of an article in the February 2010 issue of the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association newsletter. As I read the story, I somehow knew we were going to do just that. Now, four months later, the home is complete and we await the key turnover ceremony from Homes For Our Troops to Sgt. Steven Kiernan.
Our first step was bringing our trade partners in one day and showing them the video Sgt. Kiernan had made with Homes For Our Troops. Each meeting ended the same way. There would be silence in the room as everyone waited their turn to sign up. Three months later, I watched as many of those same people and more lined up to sign a banner for Sgt. Kiernan wishing him well in his new home.
The team that assembled to build this home broke three records with Homes For Our Troops. They earned honors for the most accomplished during a three-day Build Brigade" - they were done by the end of day two! The home was built within a 24-day cycle time (and was built beautifully, I might add.) And it was 100% donated to Homes For Our Troops.
I knew we could do it, I just didnt know how well. Gene Brown took this project and executed it perfectly. He will tell you it was my tears that got him involved, but I know better. It was his heart that got him involved, just like mine had done to me. There was hardly a day that went by that I wasnt awed by someone or something that touched this project. We all gained something, and for me personally it was much more than I gave. To witness the amazing gift of compassion and caring exhibited by everyone involved was priceless. There is a wonderful bond that develops between people when they share in such a rare and special experience.
One example of this came for me about 6:00 pm on the first day of the Build Brigade. We brought sandwiches donated by Chick-Fil-A to the workers who did not want to stop to eat. They had been working hard since 9:00 am with only a short break for lunch. We walked around handing out sandwiches, which they accepted with grateful smiles. (It would have been a great Chick-Fil-A commercial, Gene pointed out.) After we were finished eating, I picked up a trash bag to clean up the leftovers. I had a handful of trash in the bag when I turned to find one of the workers with an armful of trash to add to the bag. One by one they all stopped to pick up trash and the site was clean in no time. We were helping each other help Sgt. Steven Kiernan. That was a wonderful moment.
Homes For Our Troops deserve an amazing amount of credit and support for what they are doing to help our wounded veterans. They have completed 50 homes and expect to have 30 more done this year -? changing the lives of so many heroes. In the process, they are allowing the rest of us the opportunity to experience the gift of giving. Whether it was the labor or the concrete or the lumber needed to construct the home, everyone we asked said, Yes". I discovered we were all looking for a way to make a difference and show our appreciation. I like to think that we also gave hope and comfort to Sgt. Kiernan and his fellow heroes by showing that people do care and are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.
Thank you to everyone that contributed and worked so hard to "Build a Home for the Brave."