April 5, 2013

Werner Braun: Wounded war veteran is provided new home

We’re all aware that military veterans returning home after being deployed around the world face many obstacles.

But wounded military vets face special challenges, both physical and emotional, that can take a debilitating toll on even our nation’s bravest men and women.

Operation Finally Home is an organization that is doing all it can to help many wounded veterans come home to a custom-designed living space when they do return from their service to our country.

And perhaps best of all, these homes come with a special price tag: “mortgage free.”

I’m proud to relay that one of our major local businesses, Mohawk Industries, has been very instrumental in this organization’s good work.

Mohawk, a leading supplier for both residential and commercial applications, has an established relationship with Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization that builds (with the help of partner companies and builders, such as Mohawk) custom-designed homes that accommodate the special needs and disabilities of the soldier recipients.

The organization works with corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, developers, individual contributors and volunteers to help severely wounded war heroes and their families succeed in a challenging new world.

Since December 2011, Mohawk has donated the flooring for Operation Finally Home homes. It was actually through Mohawk’s relationship with this organization that Bill Saint, president and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.’s custom homebuilder Classica Homes, learned about this opportunity and decided to commit his company to helping out as well.

That’s an interesting story in and of itself.

When Saint attended the 2013 International Builders Show in January to see the latest products and trends, he was introduced (through his Mohawk connections) to the Operation Finally Home team, and decided to partner with them to build a home in Charlotte this year.

“Sometimes things all fall into place for a reason and this was a perfect example,” Saint says. “My wife and I had been talking for months about finding a way to help returning veterans. While we didn’t know how we could help, we do know how to build homes. As soon as we heard the story, our team attending the event all looked at each other and nodded our heads in agreement. We had to participate.”

But they weren’t the only ones inspired by Operation Finally Home and its partners, including Mohawk Industries, during that builders show. Seven more companies across the country also pledged to build a home in their cities that very night.

Saint says that because Classica Homes is a young company, only two years old, they are relying heavily on partners and community members for support during this homebuilding process.

“We couldn’t do this without the generosity we’ve seen from so many key players in the building community, and within our own community and homeowners,” he says. “I can’t begin to express the excitement and gratitude we feel in being able to give back to those heroes who have given everything to our country. We can never thank them enough.”

We thank them as well, and from a local perspective, we’d like to thank our good friends at Mohawk Industries. What they and their partners are providing for these veterans is a home that will be comfortable and functional to live in for the years to come.

And that’s an incomparable gift for those heroes who have made our homes — and our nation — safe for the years to come.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.

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