In honor of this year’s 9/11 and the upcoming Veterans Day, 11 lucky veterans will receive new homes in 11 weeks. Army Staff Sergeant Veronica Hally, a Pennsylvania veteran, received the keys to her dream home at a Building Homes for Heros ceremony late last month.
“This is gorgeous! It’s like a dream!” Hally exclaimed when she saw her new home in Glenside, PA, “I can’t tell you how grateful my heart is! I will continue to serve and hopefully help the House of Heroes. Because a project like this is truly amazing. It has changed my life and I will be forever grateful!”
Haley retired from the Army in 2019 due to illness after 23 years of service. She served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was left with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. She also suffers from tinnitus, double carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic low back strain. Haley is rated 100% injured by the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is a single mother of three children.
Pennsylvania Army Staff Sgt. Veronica Hally was discharged in 2019 due to illness after 23 years in the Army (Veronica Hally) (Photo courtesy of Veronica Hally)
Hally told The Epoch Times on Friday that she is proud of her service to her country. She said, “I think our service to our country, to this flag, should be taken into consideration, should be respected and never desecrated.” Haley has received many honors, including the Army Commendation Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
“David Weingrad, senior communications manager for Building Homes for Heroes, told The Epoch Times that Haley’s home was one of 11 given to wounded veterans.
“Because our men and women in uniform have served and sacrificed for all of us. They left their families; they put their lives and their bodies on the battlefield. And they came back wounded. So we owe it to them.” Winograd said, “Providing them with a home so they can live happily and peacefully for the rest of their lives is a little bit of what we can do. It’s an honor for us to serve them.”
Winograd explained that Building Homes for Heroes offers three types of homes: new homes built from scratch, OREA homes donated by JPMorgan Chase Bank, and homes that update veterans’ homes to make them more handicapped accessible and aesthetically pleasing.
He particularly emphasized that the most important and unique feature of the “Homes for Heroes” houses is their “accessibility” to people with disabilities.
Because many of these veterans are in wheelchairs; many are missing legs and arms; some are blind,” Winograd said. So we’ve made a very unique feature set for all of these houses. You won’t see that in regular housing.” For example, the front of each house is ramped, because even if they don’t need a wheelchair now, they may need one later, with their future in mind. Inside, the houses have hardwood floors, widened doorways, oversized bathrooms and lowered cabinets specifically for wheelchairs. For veterans who are blind, there are automatic lights that turn on when they enter the house.
Weingrad thanked all the donors who support Building Homes for Heroes: “We have received broad support from ordinary people, state government, foundations and large corporations.” The state of Florida provides annual grants to Homes for Heroes, so they have completed more than 100 homes in Florida alone. In addition to the mortgage-free homes donated by JPMorgan Chase, Advance Auto Parts, Lowe’s, Virginia-based SAIC and Michigan-based Truck Hero have also been sponsoring Homes for Heroes. Air conditioning and heating systems are installed free of charge.
Winograd said wounded veterans can apply for housing on the Homes for Heroes website. Military hospitals and the Army also contact them directly to recommend continued housing for wounded veterans.
Since 2006, Homes for Heroes has given 280 mortgage-free homes to severely injured veterans in 37 states.