Home for Heroes

United States Air Force Technical Sergeant Matthew Slaydon, and his wife Annette, pose in front of their home.

By proudly partnering with the Gary Sinise Foundation, the NWFA and its members are helping to create homes fit for heroes, making a difference in many lives, while honoring our veterans, first responders, and their families.

The Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders.

The NWFA is honored to work with the Gary Sinise Foundation to honor our nation’s veteran’s and first responders, and welcomes the announcement that Barbara Titus, Vice President of Sheoga Hardwood Flooring and member of the NWFA Board of Directors, has joined the Gary Sinise Foundation Board of Directors.

Titus first brought the Gary Sinise Foundation and work being done for veterans with disabilities to the NWFA’s attention in 2014. Since then, the NWFA and its members have provided flooring for its 47th home in support of the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program.

“In 2014, in Marietta, Ohio, I found out a home was being built for a young man named Kyle Hockenberry, a triple amputee veteran in his 20s. Gary Sinise and another organization were jointly working together to build a new home,” explains Titus.

“I called the mayor and told him that I wanted to make sure the floors placed in this home were produced by fellow Ohioans that appreciated his service. As a result, I was able to work with Kyle’s family to help them select the wood flooring that would eventually go into his new home,” says Titus.

After attending the home’s dedication, Titus felt a sense of satisfaction, yet had the overwhelming feeling that she wished we could do more. As a small company, Sheoga Flooring alone could not provide flooring for the large number of homes that the Gary Sinise Foundation provided each year. Determined to make a difference, Titus made it her mission to ensure hardwood flooring was provided for each R.I.S.E. home.

“I prayed about it, and the idea came to me to reach out to Michael Martin and Anita Howard at the NWFA. I felt that they have the perfect makeup for something like this,” explains Titus. “We have the manufacturers who are making the product that can be used. We have distribution that allows the flooring to be brought out to the jobsite, and finally, we have qualified installers that can make sure the flooring is installed properly and at the right time.”

NWFA leadership embraced the idea, and a strong bond has since been formed between the two organizations. This bond now grows even stronger with Titus joining the Gary Sinise Foundation.

“I am blessed to join the board of another organization that I am so passionate about. Together, and through collaboration with the NWFA, we will continue to bring meaningful change to men and women who have suffered the consequences of defending our country,” says Titus. “It is so meaningful to Gary to support our defenders, our first-line responders,
and all of those who defend our country every day. I feel very honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside him, and serve the men and women of the armed forces by being on this board of directors.”

Titus encourages other NWFA members to consider getting involved, as participation truly makes a difference for the heroes it helps and those who provide their time, effort, and assistance.

“It is so fulfilling to participate and to involve yourself and your company. You see first-hand what a tangible difference these homes make. It gives them back their autonomy and dignity and allows them to recover a small bit of what they’ve lost. It’s a meaningful change that we provide. I would encourage everyone who can participate to do so. The gratitude and the thankfulness and the feeling of truly helping someone is a gift,” says Titus. “In this time of unrest and chaos in our world, you can tangibly do this. It may be a small piece that you contribute, but it makes a huge difference in these heroes’ lives.”

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