Operation Finally Home Newsletter, Volume 1 Issue 1, November 2010


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Operation Finally Home Newsletter, Volume 1 Issue 1, November 2010

  1. 1. Save These Dates Building Systems New Orleans November 7-10 De Leon Home Presentation December 3rd Black Tie Gala December 9th 1§. .-»—~aa: / In this Issue CNN Hero 2 Jorge De Leon & Johnny Wilson Home Update 3 NAPE Blue Green Communities Air Force Times 5 Christopher LeBleu _6 Black Tie Gala '7 De Leon Invitation_8 *&—-*/ -.Z/ L34;-:7:; Q« Vi-ifi November 2010 Dear Fellow American’s, Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops was founded in 2005 as a 501 3© non-partisan/ non-profit organization with the mission to provide Americans the ability to honor and thank America’s wounded and disabled veterans and the widows of the fallen who have sacrificed to defend our country in the global War on Terror. Severely wounded and disabled service members return home to confront extreme hardships, from physical and emotional dis-abilities to financial ruin, joblessness and homelessness. Dismayed by their plight, Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops designed a wining program “Operation FINALLY HOME” That address the most pressing need of our returning heroes -- a home to call their own! Through generous donations we are able to provide a mortgage free home to our wounded/ disabled heroes and their families. “Operation FINALLY HOME” partners with builders, developers, suppliers, organizations, corporations, individuals and volunteers to develop and fund this winning program that eases transition and also offers a nurturing respite from challenges that arise when transitioning from the battlefront to the home front. Our homes are 100% cost free with clear title in the name of the recipient with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Further-more, the first two years of the taxes and home owners insurance are covered so they can transition to civilian life. This is a “hand-up”, not a “hand-out”. Our goal is to spread “Operation FINALLY HOME” across America. What is required of you? A passion to serve those who have given so much to protect our freedoms and way of life we take for granted. YOU through your donation and help can make this project a success! In the following pages you will see the progress that Operation FINALLY HOME is making and read stories on the American heroes that we are building for and changing not only their lives, but the lives of their families. This is just a small example of our accomplishments and what is required in supporting our nations most treasured assets. As we look ahead, Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops will continue to modify and improve “Operation FINALLY HOME” to meet the evolving needs of America’s wounded heroes. Through greater awareness, increased sponsorships and partnerships. We will enhance and expand “Operation FINALLY HOME” and continue the important work of changing the lives of America’s retuming heroes and their families. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank our tireless volunteers, generous donors, contributors, and most importantly, to the men and women and their families that bare the burden of war to protect our freedoms. Lgmalrléufl DAN WALLRATH Founder and President Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops/ Operation FINALLY HOME
  2. 2. )1- E «Ki ~ lfimmfl : R—-*/ !~&/ Operation FINALLY HOME is a non—profit organization which provides custom made, mortgage free homes to wounded and disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and the widows of the fallen in an effort to get their lives back on track and become productive members of their communities. _’R—f*/ !~&/ OUR HERO Dan Wallrath has been selected as one of CNNs top 10 Heros of the Year. You can Help Dan by clicking on the link and voting. If Dan wins Operation FINALLY HOME will receive $100,000.00 to continue building homes for our War Wounded! httpzl / heroes. cnn. com/ vote. aspx Cl| | HEROES EVERYDAY PEOPLE CHANGING THE WORLD CNN HERO or THE WEEK K O'. "'ll. ‘.'l7 1‘ (,1-Il‘~. .‘. UI l~' Snco 2005. Trans homo busloa Dan Walra'. h has gun n, -urod Iraq and Nghansnan wtorans homes of that own - -wongagc-‘moo Ho and ha Opera: -on Fhfly Ncrrc '. o:m cu-renty have we new custom rows uroov ccnstr-Jctncn ‘ms Dan Wallrath, giving wounded veterans a place to call home is his way of saying thanks. Since 2005, his organization Has 12 homes completed or under construction and 10 in the works, and he's expanding his idea into a national campaign called Operation Finally Home. Wallrath spent 30 years making upscale clients’ dream houses a reality. But he found a new mission in 2005 when he met with Steve Schulz about a very different type of project. Finally With donations from suppliers and contractors, Wallrath said, the group can build a $300,000 house for $25,000 to $50,000. Each house is customized to meet the needs of each family and is mortgage-free. The group also covers the taxes and insurance for two years. Wounded veterans or their spouses often have to find a new ca-reer or go back to school, making it hard to make ends meet, Wallrath said. "If you can alleviate a financial burden off these young kids where they can concentrate on rebuilding their lives, you can really make a difference, Dan is determined to help as many families as he can. He's trying to enlist builders‘ associations across the country to join his crusade, with the goal of building 100 homes. His program got tremendous interest at an industry event in January, and it soon hopes to break ground on a house near Chicago, the first outside of Texas Considering the industry was hard-hit by the recession, Dan says he's been heartened by the response. Now retired, Dan Wallrath dedicates about half of his time to this effort without pay. He says it's the least he can do to repay some of the more than 30,000 troops who've been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  3. 3. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3 Disabled American Veterans Awarded Home Sgt Jorge De Leon, a disabled American veteran from the Afghan war, was chosen by Operation FINALLY HOME and the Texas Sentinels Foundation to be the recipient of a mortgage free home in the Las Brisas community. The home is being built by Tilson Homes on an acreage homesite in Las Brisas at Ensenada Shores, a lakeside development of Warner Group Inc. at Canyon Lake, Texas. Presentation of the De Leon home will take place on December 3rd 2010 at 10:30am. Pleasejoin us to welcome Sgt De Leon and his family finally home. TILSON : HOME conrovunou Thank you to the following donors in the , building of Sgt Jorge De Leon’: Family Home! , » , . ¢E]j—_‘, '~‘m , — — _ _ , . k_ _z_ 7, _ 7: o —. o:: =*""'“"“"°! s 3.1‘; 3. ACME VOLUME LIGHTING Johnny Wilson, Sergeant, United States Army (ret)l What an amazing adventure this has been for the Wilson family. Johnny was chosen by Operation FINALLY HOME, Texas Sentinels Foundation, and WBAP (News/ Talk 820AM/96.7FM) to be the a recipient of a mortgage free home in Arlington, Texas. They visit the site every chance they get to write scriptures on the beams that will soon be their New Home, with the help of Sierra Custom Homes we are looking for a completion date sometime before the Holidays.
  4. 4. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 4 Nape & Blue Green Communities provide a Foundation for Wounded Service Members GUNTER, TX -- Thanks to Operation FINALLY HOME, NAPE EXPO & Blue Green Communities, five wounded war heroes and their families are being given their dream home in Texoma. Deeda Payton was in Gunter, Texas where she spoke to two of the families who just learned where their new homes will be located. Operation FINALLY HOME honors wounded and disabled veterans and widows of fallen soldiers with new homes. For many families, it's the beginning of the rest of their lives and the backdrop of a lifetime of memories. "I understand how hard it is to adapt after coming back from combat, but to come back with a severe injury where it cripples the whole family and you spend two and half years in a hospital to recover then be told you can't get a mortgage because you have no job from what you've just recovered from. It's not acceptable to me, " said Daniel Vargas, Executive Director of Operation FINALLY HOME. Sgt. Levi Wilson, Jr. and his wife Katie of Fort Worth, TX are one of five families who have been given land and their own custom-built home to help transition into civilian life. "It's a shock. We were very very blown away. Extremely excited. Overwhelming, " said. Sgt. Wilson. The Wilson's new home will be in the Bridges at Preston Crossing, a new community in Gunter, Texas. "They'll have a house, they'll be in a wonderful community and they'll be able to start a foundation which is what America was built on and obviously as they build a family they're just going to have an incredible starting point, " said Dan Koscher the CEO of Bluegreen Communities which is the development company that started the bridges. Wounded veteran Sgt. Alan Hornaday of Fordyce, AR will also be moving into the bridges community. He too has been surprised with a new home. "I'm excited about it. I mean the drive up it's just the perfect place it's what we've pretty well dreamed of, " said Hornaday. Organizers of operation FINALLY HOME say it's the least they can do to give back to our heroes of war. "A 300-thousand dollar home is in no way a means to pay-back what they've sacrificed and given us, " said Vargas. Bridges‘ Developer, Bluegreen Communities, is providing the land and the home. Operation FINALLY HOME was started by Houston's Bay Area Builders Association and is sponsored by the NAPE EXPO, the world's largest oil and gas exposition. Ki . , _ 7-» U . r I. ,_ ‘ y 1 ‘*7 . » . ‘ . __ I . .‘_‘_V5b%I-I-‘I I s .1 / V» . , . 1 / / . « n . . I . . 3' . z . V . w I v . 4; : - ‘L . 1‘ yin , ‘ V . _. . _ _ , .. .,—_ Alan Horanby, Sergeant First Class US Army ( ret ) Toby “Levi” Wilson Sergeant, United States Army ( ret )
  5. 5. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 YourAirForce THE LATEST NEWS AFFECTING YOU Land now, h"(‘I"Ii1e- Nonprofit readies new house for airman who lost legs By Michele Tan m‘. aMT/ lwlllzfyllnlrs com IN IIAIIIFEIS, lens — It was a moment made for reality TV: A crowd had gathered at an upscale housing development here. just before the unsuspect- ing couple arrived. It didn't take long for Senior Airman Colton Read and his wife, Jes- sica, to figure out what BEHIND THE SURPRISE Opfilallflfl Finally Home pen. “ said Jessica Read. who tumed 22 the day before. ‘This is incredible. " Operation Finnlly Home. a non- profit that honors wounded and disabled troops. veterans and fam- ilies of fallen service members with new homes, had been working to get a house for the couple. Jessica Read said. was going on. Their eyes filled with bears. Operation Finally Home had selected Read, who lost his legs alter routine surgery to remove his gallbladder went horribly wrong. to receive a dream home that will be built on wo'ks lo nmwde new homes Ior wounded and dzsabled Hoops, veterans and lamllles or lallen semce members For Cotton and . less: ca Read. men 1 I7-acre lol III the Vintage Oaks at the Vineyard cummmly was donated by developer Biliegveen Comrnunznes lne Raids WIII “But they kept say- ing. ‘We're trying. but no promises, " she said. “Yesterday was my birthday and they called and said, ‘Let's go look at lots some- where to maybe build a home. but no promises. " 1.17 acres in the heart now work will JlmmyJacoD$ Operation Finally of Texas Hill Country. Custom Horreslo bunldlheu Home pulled off the ‘It was unbelievable, " dream house perfect surprise. Read said as he sat in a lo learn more aooul “We're very blessed. ” wheelchair and looked Operation Finally Home. Jessica Read said. at the lot where the house will be built. “I didn't picture this at all. It's beautiful here. I couldn't ask for more. " The Reads were kept in the dark about the reason for their 45- rninute drive Sept. 29 from their home in San Antonio, where Read is receiving physical therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center. “I never thought this would hap- VlS| l www babasupporl are To see were Inc Read: will call home, VISII www VIDIBQCOBKSIEXBS com Colton Read added: “It hasn't sunk in yet. It‘s so much to takein. " For the 22-year-old airman. the journey has been long and difficult. An intelligence specialist who analyzed full-motion video from MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers flying over Iraq and Afghanistan, Read decided to fol- &—- Air Force Times vouuv wwanin DInl(oocbor. pvuIdaitaodC£0otBtiognouGomnnltiu. aodDaoWaIrItlI, louodorotopu-d| onFhulyltonn. sh1nISuiorAinunColtouhodvrbonhls neuhonlewlliobull. low the advice of Air Force sur- geons to have his gallbladder removed to stop his stomach pain. He was told that if he didn't opt for the elective surgery, he wouldn't be deployed. On July 9, 2009. Read was admitted into David Grant Med- ical Center at Travis Air Force Basc. Cnlif. But the surgery went wrong almost immediately, according to a command-directed investigation into the events ofthat day. The surgeon nicked Road's aorta. the body's largest artery. Doctors rushed to stop the bleed- ing, but by the time Read was wheeled out of the operating room he was stable but had lost an esti- mated 3% liters of blood. As the minutes and hours went by, medical staff began to notice Reads legs were blue and they had trouble finding a pulse in his feet. Doctors began nmning tests and debating whether to transfer Read to another hospital. one with a vascular surgeon on stall. By the time Read was moved to the University of California-Davis Medical Center, about 40 miles north of David Grant, it was past 5 p. m., more than eight hours since his surgery. Doctors at UC. Davis repaired Road's aorta and restored blood flow to his legs. Under the pres- sure of the returning blood. Read's legs swelled and circula- tion stopped at his knees because the tissue below was already dead. In the early morning hours of July 10, 2009, doctors amputated Read‘s legs to save his life. Now, his left leg ends above the knee and his right leg at mid-thigh. Read is still on active duty while he continues to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation. He anticipates beginning the medical evaluation board process in the next month or two. /12> PAGE 5 October 11, 2010 A . .v DREAM HOME The Reads will live In New Braunlels. 45 minutes lrom the rehab lacillty in San Antonio. For Dan Wallrath, founder of Operation Finally Home. it didn‘t matter that Colton Read wasn't wounded in the war zone. ‘My first reaction was disbe- lief. ” Wallrath said. “I couldn't believe anything could go that wrong. IColton Readl wanted to go overseas and fight for us and the only way he could do that was the surgery. Wejust felt it didn't make a difference ifhe got blown up by a bomb or what happened. " Wallrath. a custom home- builder for 30 years, founded Operation Finally Home in 2005 when a friend whose son was wounded in Iraq needed help remodeling his home to accommo- date his son's needs. “The dad showed me before and after pictures of his son and it broke my heart. " Wallrath said. “It become real to me. This is not an isolated case. but thousands of families are dealing with this with no help. ” Since the Houston-based organi- zation‘. -I creation in 2005, it has l2 houses completed or under con- struction and another 10 in the works. Wallrath said. ‘Very few people get to experi- ence this once in their lifetime. " he said. “I get to do this for a living. I'm so blessed. " The house that will be built for Colton and Jessica Read at the new development, called Vintage Oaks at the Vineyard, is more than just a house. said Dan Var- gas. executive director of Opera- tion Finally Home. ‘This is going to give them their life back, ‘ he said. ‘No matter what happens, they'll always have a roof over their heads. ” D
  6. 6. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 REMEMBER ME Do not shed tears when I have gone but smile instead because I have lived. Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I’ll come back but open your eyes and see all that I have left behind. I know your heart will be empty because you cannot see me but still I want you to be full of the love we shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live only for yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of what happened between us yesterday. You can remember me and grieve that I have gone or you can cherish my memory and let it live on. You can cry and lose yourself become distraught and turn your back on the world or you can do what I want - smile, wipe away the tears, learn to love again and go on. *1 can't go on. I must go on. I'll go on. "" -David Harkin (C )7 Lo 0 K M O O N *Line taken from Samuel Beckett's novel ‘The Unnameable. ' -Chris $-*/ !%/ Christopher LeBleu, Corporal, United States Marine Corps (March 18, 1982 - August 13, 2007) Chris join the Marines in August 2003. Chris served in OII-' II with the 3rd Battalion 7th Marines India Co. out of 29 Palms, CA. After his battle in Iraq Chris safely returned home was married and moved to his duty station at 29 Palms, CA. Three short months after his wedding Chris went into acute liver failure. He fell into a coma while waiting for a donor liver to match. Five days after being admitted to the critical care unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Chris received a MTl0mfl‘LYH donated liver. Chris‘ transplant was successful, but ‘:5 g 0:” soon after, other complications occurred. ; 1 Y2 U 1, On August 13, 2007, Christopher LeBleu passed away due to ongoing complications that occurred due to his illness. Chris is survived by his loving wife We would like to dedicate this issue to the Memory of Corporal Chris LeBleu, United States Marine Corp.
  7. 7. , tvrarmr-: zrssrnr Support Our Troops Operation FINALLY HOME invites you to join our 2nd Annual Black Tie Gala Raising Funds To Build Homes For America ’s Injured Service Men & Women Thursday, December 9, 2010 Cocktails begin at 6:30pm Dinner & Entertainment at 7:30 pm The Admiral on Clear Lake 3101 Nasa Parkway, Suite 210 Seabrook, TX 7 7586 TICKET PRICES: $160.00 For a Couple S85 .00 Per Person Please Contact: Cindy Schoening To Purchase Tickets & RSVP Phone: 832-816-2640 or Email: baba. cschoening@gmail. com There will be a live and silent auction taking place during the evening to raise funds to build more homes for our injured service men and women. Guest Speaker: Jon Voight We ask that you please bring a new unwrapped gift for the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots drive benefitting the needy children of Texas.
  8. 8. VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 ‘I , " Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops OPERATION FINALLY HOME Requests the pleasure of your company at the home presentation to Jorge De Leon, Sergeant, U. S. Army (retired) and Family on Friday, third of December at 10:30am Las Brisas at Ensenada Shores 753 Caballo Trail Canyon Lake * Texas 78133 RSVP by November 26th (832) 816-2640 baba. cschoening@gmail. com "Building Homes for America's War Wounded"