Alabama Builders Provide a Home for a Hero

Filed in Home Building, NAHB Cares by on October 13, 2016 0 Comments

When a prominent member of the Daphne, Ala., community reached out to the Baldwin County HBA for help in building a home for injured Army veteran P.D. Rains, it was the catalyst for the largest and most rewarding project the HBA has ever undertaken.

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The Rains family is surrounded by HBA member volunteers onthe steps of their new home.

After a tour in Afghanistan, Rains was sent to Iraq, where he suffered severe injuries from shrapnel wounds sustained after an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near him. The shrapnel struck him from top to bottom, piercing his liver and lungs.

After a long recovery in military hospitals, Rains returned to Daphne and got a job, but the lasting effects of his injuries made it impossible for him to keep working. Rains needed a home that could not only accommodate his injuries but also create a haven for his family: his wife and four daughters.

Then-HBA president Mike Henriksen took the project to heart and with the support of the board of directors, HBA members and the Daphne community, got to work: finding land, raising needed funds and garnering in-kind material donations.

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Rains’ new bathroom includes a shower large enough to accommodate his wheelchair.

The HBA created a charitable foundation to collect and disburse donations. Current president Chris Farlow, Henriksen and Eddie Youngblood, owner of Eddie Youngblood Builders, Inc., in Daphne, oversaw the plans, budget and construction.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held Dec. 15, 2015. Several community leaders spoke, and over the following months, constant publicity ensured the continuation of donations. The list of contributions grew and more people volunteered to help.

A local technical school brought carpentry students to experience a hands-on work day. Work days allowed members to do cleaning, landscaping and various small jobs. Two brothers who own a local painting company painted the entire house, four bedrooms, two baths and the exterior at no cost.

All together, about 200 individuals and businesses were involved from start to finish.

NAHB Senior Officer Randy Noel speaks as HBAA president Mark Reid, far left, awaits his turn.

NAHB Senior Officer Randy Noel speaks.

Three television stations were on hand when on Aug. 26 the Rains family got the keys to their new home, mortgage-free. The celebration began with a crowd-pleasing procession of the Patriot Guard Riders. NAHB Vice President Randy Noel and HBA of Alabama President Mark Reid praised the HBA’s accomplishment.

Farlow thanked the many sponsors and contributors and happily announced the project had come in ahead of schedule and under budget. Participants read letters and resolutions from Sen. Jeff Sessions and Rep. Bradley Byrne, and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Rains was presented along with a ceremonial key, custom-made by a member.

HBAA President Mark Reid speaks at the ceremony.

HBA president Chris Farlow speaks at the ceremony.

As he accepted the key, Rains spoke emotionally about the security and stability of having a home and how much it meant to his family.

“In honor of what you did to serve your country, thank you for letting us serve you,” responded Hendriksen.

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Rains give a ride to his daughter and a friend.

Following the raising of the flag by members of the Purple Heart Organization and the ribbon sawing, the family entered their home for the first time. Everyone was invited to view the home and enjoy lunch, which was provided by a member utility company.

Some people told us it would be hard to raise the $200,000 needed for the project and find the materials, supplies and volunteers. These people don’t know Baldwin County and they don’t know home builders, who do these things because they want to, because the industry has been good to them and they want to give back. I am extremely proud of them.

Special thanks to guest blogger Fran Druse, EO of the HBA of Baldwin County, Ala., for this inspirational story. Read more about the Baldwin County HBA Home for a Hero at the foundation website.

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