In separate parts of the country, brigades of credit union volunteers are joining the Homes for Our Troops cause in bigger numbers this month spearheading a registration drive to sign up carpenters, contractors and roofers in Columbia, Mo.
Leaders of the Boston charity, which hooked up with CUNA two years ago at the GOP and Democratic Conventions to build adapted homes for injured war vets, were effusive this week with praise for the industry in garnering a big turnout for Missouri "HFOT Registration Day" to build a home for Staff Sgt. Robert Canine and for helping sponsor a similar "Volunteer Day" in December for Army SSG Michael Downing of Middleboro who lost both legs in Afghanistan.
"The community support and volunteerism from Missouri credit unions was phenomenal," declared Doreen Lewis, HFOT project coordinator who helped supervise the Jan. 28 "Registration Day" in conjunction with the Missouri Credit Union Association. MCUA managed to recruit more than 100 electricians, brick layers, painters and contractors to build Sgt. Canine's Columbia home.
And meanwhile, the Massachusetts Credit Union League joined by its affiliated groups in Rhode Island and New Hampshire will take part in a "hand over the keys" celebration Feb. 27 in Middleboro for the finished home of Sgt. Downing and his family.
In December, hundreds of CU volunteers braved freezing temperatures to take part in the "Build Brigade" for Sgt. Downing's home. The three leagues earlier in the fall had sponsored a gala fundraiser in Boston inviting military dignitaries and lawmakers from across New England to recruit support. The Build Brigade idea has caught on in Missouri too, with 16 state legislators signing up this week to become Legislative Honorary Build Brigade Members.