Guest Contributor

My Heroes Don’t Wear Capes

Filed in Committees and Councils, Membership by on November 3, 2014 0 Comments

My son is fascinated with superheroes, all of them. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Mutant Turtles, the list goes on. And rightfully so: They have powers that none of us possess: the ability to leap tall buildings, run faster than locomotives, flying, X-ray vision.

They also have a trait that has become a rarity in our society: helping others that cannot help themselves, or whose situation at that moment prevents them from overcoming a challenge. They swoop in, defeat the villain and save the day.

I’ve had the chance to meet real superheroes. The ones that put themselves in harm’s way across the world from their friends and families. The ones that risk their lives to help and protect others. They are men and women from here and there, and everywhere in between. And they volunteer to do it for a menial wage.

I would like to tell you a story about a few heroes that I have had the opportunity to meet.

On a beautiful fall afternoon, I picked up my traveling companion Rick for a 16-hour journey to Concord, N.C. Rick and I would have a great time catching up as old friends do, talking about our work, our families, telling stories and jokes, anything to keep the driver engaged and awake while we trucked along.

Behind us we had brought along all of the necessities that we would need for the next four days, loaded up neatly in a trailer.

We entered North Carolina just before daybreak. We no longer needed caffeine to keep us awake: The excitement of the task that lay ahead fueled us as we pulled into Concord.

We were among a group of volunteers from all over the nation who descended on an unassuming subdivision to frame a home for a family who had yet to know that they were going to be the recipients of a new mortgage-free home. The men and women, over 50 in total, worked feverishly to put up all of the structural components of that new home in less than four days.

There were long days. There was blood. There was sweat. There might have even been a few curse words. But these smiling volunteers put aside their competitive differences and transformed a stack of wooden and metal parts and pieces into a home.

This was not just a house we were building, it will soon be the home of another hero, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Feaster and his wonderful family. Tony was wounded in combat, and while it ended his Army career sooner than he would have liked, it has not gotten him down. He has taken this as a new opportunity to change the world. And I firmly believe that he will, and his new mortgage-free home provided Operation Finally Home will help give him that jumpstart to do just that.

I would be remiss to not mention Army Spc. Cody Nusbaum, for whom I had the honor and privilege to meet and be a part of building his new home in New Braunfels, Texas. He is another wounded soldier who has taken a new lease on life and is ready to do great things.

And also Marine Staff Sgt. Vince Gizzarelli, who I’ve also met and been a part of constructing a new home for. And to all the other service men and women of our country, for without your willingness to make sacrifices to protect, defend and preserve our rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, none of this would be possible.

I plan to continue to assist Operation Finally Home in being able to do what I do best, build homes, and I hope you will join me in the crusade to help those that have done so much for this great nation, and allow us to sleep well at night knowing that our country is protected by the greatest military on earth.

This article was written by NAHB and Building Systems Councils member Jason Blenker, of Blenker Buildings Systems in Wisconsin, and republished from LinkedIn. It has been edited for the NAHBNow blog.

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