Homes For Our Troops: Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives

by Megan Shroy

As a PR agency, Approach Marketing has the privilege of partnering with clients to design and implement programs focused on philanthropy, community engagement and helping companies give back to their customers and the neighborhoods where they do business. 

This is the good stuff, my friends.

We recently worked with our longtime client, Vivial, to create a corporate giving initiative in support of two causes near and dear to their heart: the military and education.

Vivial Values was born, with a keen focus on improving lives and supporting those who are in need or have dedicated their lives to protecting our country.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel with CEO Jim Continenza (pictured below) to kick off Vivial Values in a grand fashion. It was such a touching experience that I had to share this story…

Megan Shroy, Approach Marketing and Jim Continenza, Vivial

A Seeing Eye Dog, aptly named Deacon, is Army MSG Eric Marts’ faithful companion.

In fact, the Labrador Retriever never leaves his side.

In 2006, while bravely serving our country, two explosive device blasts in Fallujah, Iraq caused traumatic brain injury (TBI) that took Eric’s vision and resulted in multiple surgeries for neck and shoulder injuries.

Following his service, Eric moved home to a Minnesota trailer park with his wife, Bobbie. Eric’s daily life presented a new set of challenges: The hallways were narrow, making it difficult for Deacon to do his job, and the bedrooms weren’t large enough for Eric’s equipment.

Their five grown children and grandchildren didn’t all fit inside.   

And, with no security system, Bobbie was afraid to leave Eric alone in case strangers approach the home.

This was not the life a hero deserves.

As part of Vivial Values, Vivial partnered with the nonprofit organization, Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) to help give Eric, Bobbie and Deacon a specially-adapted home that’s designed around their needs.

HFOT builds mortgage-free, custom homes nationwide for severely injured, post-9/11 veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives. These veterans are among the nation’s most wounded with missing limbs, varying levels of paralysis and, as in Eric’s case, TBI and blindness.

Honored at a ceremony attended by more than 100 community members, Eric received the keys to his new home in August. After enduring so much, Eric now has the chance to live in comfort and safety.

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Jim Continenza proudly delivered the opening remarks at this special event.

“It is thanks to men and women, like Eric, that we at Vivial are able to freely and safely do business in our country,” he said. “A year ago, the leaders at this company sat down and said, ‘All of the money we’re spending on golf outings, sporting events, you name it—let’s take that money and give it back to causes that mean something to our customers and employees.’”

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Partnering with HFOT, Vivial is committed to helping establish a stronger network of assistance for those who have bravely worn the uniform and put their lives in danger.

Helping our clients, like Vivial, connect with organizations like HFOT is a dream.

I’m thrilled that I was able to be on-site at this event and watch Eric and his family receive their home. I’ve never been prouder to support Vivial—they are truly a company that cares about the communities they serve.

To learn more about Vivial’s corporate giving and Vivial Values campaign, click here.

This is one of the very best parts of PR: being able to share the remarkable work that our clients are doing day in and day out.

If you are interested in creating a community engagement or philanthropic initiative, please contact me personally at megan@approachmarketing.com.