Two stories of how community members honored Veterans Day by serving those who've served.
For the last two years, Hands On Nashville has partnered with Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN) to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of homes in which Veterans live in the days leading up to Veterans Day,
On Veteran’s Day of 2015, 20 volunteers completed Home Energy Savings projects in two homes operated by OSDTN’s Transitional Housing Program, which provides Veterans with the necessary social and support services to ensure a successful return to responsible living. Following Veterans Day, volunteers completed two additional projects to serve our vets before the holidays.
The upgrades, as now-retired Maintenance Coordinator for the Transitional Housing Program Bob Ousley described, will have an impact on the programs and services Veterans receive.
“When Organizations like Hands On Nashville come in and help us…it makes all the difference in the world and we are able to take an advanced step forward in the program. What’s going on here today is going to save us long-term on our energy costs, which gives us more money to actually spend on our Veterans and help them attain the success they are looking for.”
During the projects, volunteers installed attic insulation, added weatherstripping to doors and windows, upgraded LED bulbs, installed low-flow shower heads, and made additional updates to improve each home’s efficiency, comfort and safety. With the support of a grant, Hands On Nashville installed three new refrigerators in the homes, which will enhance the space, as well as reduce energy for refrigeration and reduce costs.
In the spirit of service, multiple Veterans gave their time to support their fellow servicemen and servicewomen by volunteering during the projects.
“I appreciate these kind of programs that help folks who need a step up and a helping hand to get going again,” said Ray, a Navy Veteran. “I’m not in that situation, but I very well could have been. So I’m thankful to help them. It’s been great, everybody has been helping out in all different areas. We’ve got all different kinds of people here from all different areas of life…everybody is working together.”
In November 2016, thirteen Cummins employees donated their time to improving the affordability and comfort of another transitional housing property. The group added attic insulation, made water-saving retrofits to the bathrooms, installed energy efficient lighting and air-sealed windows and doors. With additional investment, the traditional scope of work was expanded to include a rain garden build and tree plantings in the backyard, which will mitigate stream pollution, help protect the home’s foundation and shade the roof to lower energy bills in the summer.
“For the veterans who live here — and to Operation Stand Down Tennessee — this means a lot because [the volunteers] are making the home more energy efficient, which is going to save us a lot in the long run, and it’s going to help keep our clients warm in the winter time,” said Antwan Waller, a Operation Stand Down Tennessee Transitional Housing Program Case Manager. “It’s hard to find words to really describe it because I really am just so grateful to be a part of this.”