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HFOT projects see progress in Missouri Mass.
MARLBOROUGH, Mass., and ST. LOUIS (3/4/10)--Two credit union projects with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), which builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans, have made significant progress in Massachusetts and Missouri. At a ceremony attended by 200 supporters, SSG Michael Downing and his family received the keys to their new home in Middleboro, Mass., reported the Massachusetts Credit Union League's E-Weekly March 3). Downing lost both legs to a road side bomb in Afghanistan. The Massachusetts Credit Union League, the New Hampshire Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island were among the contributors making the project possible. Credit unions from the three leagues began their involvement with the project in Spring 2009 with a commitment to sponsor the Annual Gala for HFOT. The three leagues raised $190,000 and were recognized at the ceremony by HFOT founder John Gonsalves. "Our credit union community is proud to be able to be of service to Staff Sergeant Downing, an individual who has given so much to all of us," said the leagues' President/CEO Dan Egan. Other major sponsors were Cape Cod Lumber and Falconeri Construction, which donated time, labor and expertise for the project. Among those attending the ceremony were U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Major General Joseph Carter, commander of the Massachusetts National Guard. Halfway across the country, the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) reported that with donations and labor pouring in, HFOT expects to start excavation work this week on a home in Columbia, Mo., for SSG Robert Canine. Canine lost both legs below the knee during an explosion in May during his second stint in Iraq (The Missouri difference March 3). Missouri credit unions are leading the effort to build the home. The next step in the process is a three-day build brigade, which brings the house from a concrete foundation to a weather-tight structure within three days. Credit union representatives, volunteers, community members and the media will take part in that actively, which likely will occur in April, said MCUA. Credit unions, leagues and the Credit Union National Association also partnered with HFOT and the national presidential conventions in Minnesota and Colorado for similar home projects in those states in 2008.
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