ST. LOUIS -- Missouri credit unions are moving forward with revised plans to build two homes next year for injured Iraqi war veterans in an offshoot of CUNA's similar venture at the presidential party conventions last summer.
Working with the Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops organization in a statewide fundraising project, the Missouri Credit Union Association said one home is to be built in St. Louis and the other in Branson, located in the Missouri Ozarks.
As part of the Homes for Our Troops campaign, the president/CEO of Homes for Our Troops, John Gonsalves, and other staffers met Oct. 28 with CU leaders at Anheuser-Busch Employees CU of St. Louis to discuss the venture.
Appearing at that Anheuser-Busch meeting was Army Specialist Scott West, selected as the recipient of the specially adapted home to be built in Branson, where West is from.
West, who lost his legs below the knee in Iraq when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb, expressed gratitude to CUs for coming to his aid "and by opening up doors for every other soldier" coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
West later traveled with the MCUA and Homes for Our Troops contingent to Branson to meet with the media to further discuss the building plans.
Anheuser-Busch, together with Mid Missouri CU of Fort Leonard Wood, have spearheaded the Homes For Troops project in Missouri. Ever since two homes were built for injured vets near Denver and St. Paul during the Democratic and GOP conventions, Mid Missouri has pushed for a Missouri repeat.
In a show of support for the military, Mid Missouri management had first sought to have the home built at the big Army base in Fort Leonard Wood but agreed to change plans because West lives in Branson "and that is what he needs."
As to the second Missouri 'Home for Troops' facility, officials said selection of a recipient is still in the works though it may be erected near a military base in a St. Louis suburb on the Illinois side.