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Responding to the housing needs and day-to-day challenges of wounded veterans, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) launched a program called Dealers Helping Heroes.
"This industry wants to support our country's military veterans and one way we'll help is with the Dealers Helping Heroes program. The Yellow Ribbon Fund and the Helping A Hero Organization have some great ideas on how construction supply businesses can make an impact in the lives of military families and we look forward to working with them," said NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. "Servicemen and women suffering with severe injuries deserve homes that will accommodate their new way of life and I call on lumber dealers to consider adopting a wounded warrior."
Many of the most severely wounded veterans are treated at Walter Reed/Bethesda Naval Hospital and at Brook Army Medical Center (BAMC). As they transition to civilian life, they are often in desperate need of assistance in remodeling, renovating or building a home that will work for their particular disability. However, they only receive $7,000 for a remodel and $64,960 for building a new home from the federal government.
When a veteran is ready to transition home, their name is added to a master list maintained by Helping a Hero helpingahero.org. Participating state/regional building material associations will receive a list bi-weekly of veterans looking to transition and where they are transitioning. The state/regional association will identify a local dealer willing to "adopt" the veteran and provide whatever assistance they can to help them with the building project. Helping a Hero will contact the dealer to further discuss the needs of the local veteran, to answer any questions, and define the parameters of the project. Once the dealer is fully on-board, Helping a Hero will pair the veteran with the dealer and work with them to complete the home project.
"These American heroes have given so much to our country. The Dealers Helping Heroes program is a small way for the building material industry to thank them for their service and sacrifice on behalf of all Americans," said NLBMDA president Michael O'Brien.