Volunteer Builders Make Weeks Worth of Progress on Operation Finally Home in Just One Weekend
A weekend building blitz just completed in Wildwood has helped us make significant progress on our Operation Finally Home project, benefiting U.S. Army Spc. Heath Howes and family.
This weekend, 15 volunteer carpenters with Builder’s Bloc donated their time to frame the entire home to keep this project on home so that the Howes family can move in by the end of the year.
Many of our volunteer builders were veterans themselves, including Mike Wheeler (Marines 1990-1995 and Army 2008-2014) and Jim Lammering (Army 1984-1990). We wanted to take a moment to thank our veteran volunteers for their service – both military and volunteer service this weekend. We simply could not do this without you.
Here are some pictures from this weekend:
If you’re looking to help, we are always in need of volunteer hours, material and cash donations. Financial donations can be made at https://www.operationfinallyhome.org/the-howes-family. To help in other ways, please contact us at info (at) hibbshomes.com.
A quick flyover video was filmed midway through construction. Thanks to Chris Tebbe for donating his time to commemorate our building blitz weekend!
News Coverage from this Building Blitz Event:
- “Organization frames home for wounded veteran“, KPLR
- “After years of planning, volunteers begin building Wildwood home for wounded veteran“, St. Louis Public Radio
- “Nonprofit group builds mortgage-free home for wounded army veteran, family”, KMOV
About U.S. Army Spc. Heath Howes & Family
Having grown up in a military family, U.S. Army Spc. Heath Howes always knew he would follow in the
footsteps of his family members. On January 25, 2011, Howes traveled to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, to begin Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training to join the Field Artillery as a Cannon Crewmember.
Following training, Howes received orders that he would be stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Eager to begin the next chapter of his life, Howes deployed to Afghanistan a few months later.
As he adjusted to military life abroad, Howes relied heavily on his faith to carry him through the tough days.
Several months into his deployment, his combat outpost was attacked by a suicide bomber carrying over 1,200 pounds of explosives. Even though his unit was unharmed, Howes considers that day one of the longest of his deployment. On June 27, 2012, his truck was hit by a 200-pound IED (improvised explosive device) during a vehicle patrol. The driver, Howes’ best friend, and soldier sitting across from Howes were immediately killed, while Howes and his captain sustained life-threatening injuries. To this day, he cannot recall anything that happened following the explosion.
Howes’ injuries include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a spinal burst, fractured ribs, nerve damage in his left leg, severe right ankle fracture, collapsed lung and more. He was honorably discharged in January 2014. His wife, Savannah, serves as his primary caretaker, driving him to the nearest VA facility that is two and a half hours away and helping him in his wheelchair when necessary.
Although recovery is a long process, Howes remains determined to continue healing physically, mentally and spiritually. In recognition of his courageous military service, Howes had been honored with numerous awards, including a Purple Heart, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two stars, two Combat Action Badges, an Army Commendation Medal and NATO Medal.
Since Howes is currently unable to work, he spends his time coaching his sons’ T-ball and baseball teams, giving him a sense of purpose. His goal is to teach the young boys hard work, discipline and sportsmanship. As Howes continues to receive rehabilitative care, his wife hopes to eventually return to pharmacy training. Howes grew up in the St. Louis area and is looking forward to returning to be closer to family and friends.
About Operation FINALLY HOME:
Based in New Braunfels, Texas, Operation FINALLY HOME was established in 2005 as a nonpartisan/nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of Operation FINALLY HOME is to provide homes and home modifications to America’s military Heroes and the widows of the fallen who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and values. Operation FINALLY HOME partners with corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, remodelers, developers, individual
contributors, and volunteers to help these Heroes and their families by addressing one of their most pressing needs – a place to call home. For more information about Operation FINALLY HOME, visit OperationFINALLYHOME.org, follow @OpFINALLYHOME on Twitter and find us on Facebook.