Hawkinsville, Ga.—Local hero Marine Corporal Tony Mullis and his wife, Jeanie received the keys to their brand new home, completed in June and built by Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) here, and then helped to break ground next door on Tony’s friend and fellow Marine, Cpl. Michael Boucher’s specially adapted home.
Built at no cost to severely wounded veterans by HFOT, a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization, these projects depend on labor donated by contractors and skilled workers and from donated materials, such as flooring from Armstrong.
From left, Brig. Gen. Denis Shortal, USMC (Ret.); Cpl. Tony Mullis; Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Boucher; executive director of HFOT, Dawn Teixeira; Congressman Austin Scott, and 2011 HFOT recipient Army Cpl. Jeffery Williams.
Over 200 people came out to congratulate these two real-life heroes and to help HFOT break ground where Cpl. Boucher’s new home will be built—right next door to his buddy. In attendance from Armstrong were Jeremy Dixon, FSR Armstrong; Joseph Patterson, distribution manager – residential sales Armstrong Flooring Products (AFP); John Allen, sales director, and Jennifer Allen representing distributor W.M. Bird and local retailer Chuck Katz and Kaitlin Katz from Katz Flooring in Macon, Ga.
“This event was very impactful and moving,” said Joseph Patterson, distribution manager – residential sales AFP. “The courage these American heroes display is inspiring. All who spoke recognized the resiliency of Americans, how we stand together against adversity and all odds. Particularly moving was Tony Mullis raising the flag over his new home and the heartfelt words by HFOT executive director Dawn Teixeira, Gen. Shortal, and Congressman Scott.
“Cpl. Jeffery Williams,” he added, “who did not know these veterans, came 300 miles to join in the event. He was very soft spoken from his wheelchair and I quote, ‘The people that blew us up with an I.E.D. thought they were doing something brave, but they did not succeed, we were not taken out baby, we are still here, we have people who are behind us just like you all who are here.’”
“It’s just awesome to see that so many people from the community and from our families are so strong willed and have a desire to help us out and give us the ability to have a home that’s accessible and easy to get around for us,” said Boucher.
Armstrong, as the exclusive flooring supplier to HFOT, has provided floors for the Mullis home and will provide flooring for Cpl. Boucher’s home, with plans for 30 plus homes built in 2013, and continuing into 2014-2015. Armstrong products donated through this sponsorship include engineered hardwood and resilient floors that meet universally designed criteria. A portion of sales from a new Armstrong hardwood flooring product, American Scrape, support Armstrong’s donation of flooring donation in 2013 to HFOT.
The specially adapted homes built by HFOT include many products that help the veterans participate in and enjoy daily life with their families. Each home is designed to provide maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently after returning injured from service.
“HFOT will help me be able to get around in my own home with no troubles,” said Cpl. Mullis. “They will provide me with the house that will become the foundation of the home my wife and I will be able to live in as a normal family.”
Seventy percent of HFOT funds raised are through individual contributions from across the country.