PARKERSBURG, W. VA. – When Army Staff Sgt. Travis Strong accepted the keys to his new, specially-adapted home in August, he became the 30th U.S. service person to receive a home from Homes for Our Troops. His new house features wide doorways to make it easy for Strong’s wheelchair to negotiate the 2,068-square foot floor plan. Strong, age 31, lost both his legs in Baghdad in 2006 when a bomb cut through his Stryker armored combat vehicle.
Since his return to the United States, Strong has been in San Diego military housing undergoing rehab. When the organizers of Homes for Our Troops learned of Strong’s need for a new home for his family, they stepped in. “Travis was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was injured,” says John Gonsalves, founder and president of Homes for Our Troops. “I never served, but I have the highest regard for those who do. Travis volunteered to protect our freedoms and was injured while doing that. Now we are volunteering to help him.”
The Colorado house created for Strong and his family (wife Misty and children Brianna and Sean) is one of the first green building homes constructed by Homes for Our Troops in conjunction with a new partnership with The Sierra Club Foundation. The goal is to incorporate a higher level of green building materials and processes into the homes built for severely injured service people across the country.
“This home represents a dedicated effort to include green building products and practices,” says Gonsalves. “We relied on our founding partner, Simonton Windows®, to supply the ENERGY STAR® qualified windows for the Strong family house. These double glazed windows have Argon gas filling and Intercept® spacer systems to make them extremely energy efficient.”
A grid-tied 6.21 kW Photovoltaic system that will provide 80 to 90 percent of the electricity for the home was included in the design of the house. The building envelope was insulated with R-value 6.8 per inch insulation (on 2x6 walls this provides an R-value of R37). This spray foam insulation acts as an outstanding insulator and provides a natural barrier for leakage. The Strong home will be heated with a geothermal heating system as the primary source of heat.
The house constructed for the Strong family is the 30th competed project home for Homes for Our Troops since the organization started in 2004. Several dozen other home projects are currently underway and in the planning stages.
“Every completed house is a reason for celebration,” says Gonsalves. “Each time we hand over the keys to a home, we’re offering a new life to veterans who have paid a heavy personal price to serve our country. Thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers and generous company sponsors, we’re able to make a positive contribution to our severely disabled service men and women.”
Homes for Our Troops builds new homes or rebuilds existing homes to make them handicapped-accessible for severely wounded service members. The organization does it at no cost to the veterans, relying on monetary contributions and donations from building contractors, suppliers, corporations and local volunteers.
Simonton Windows produces ENERGY STAR® qualified replacement and new construction windows and doors, including a line of impact-resistant products. Simonton ranked “Highest in Builder and Remodeler Satisfaction among Residential Window and Patio Door Manufacturers” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Builder and Remodeler Residential Window and Patio Door Satisfaction StudySM. The company was ranked #1 in quality in the 2007 Brand Use Study sponsored by Builder magazine and has won three Best In Class Awards from Market Research Associates.
Founded in 1946, Simonton’s hallmark has been to deliver its made-to-order products in seven days or less. Part of consumer products company Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), Simonton has manufacturing facilities in Pennsboro, Harrisville and Ellenboro, W.Va.; Paris, Ill.; McAlester, Okla.; and Vacaville, Calif. Simonton is a founding sponsor of The Weather Museum and a corporate partner of Homes for Our Troops. For information, call (800) SIMONTON or visit www.simonton.com.