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HFOT registration brings crowd kudos for CUs
COLUMBIA, Mo. (2/8/10)--Credit unions and the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) helped more than 100 community members in Columbia, Mo., register their services to help build Army Staff Sergeant Robert Canine a specially adapted home in a Home for Our Troops project.
Click to view larger image From left, Dave Tate and Dan Vogler, both of Anheuser-Busch Employees CU, St. Louis, review blueprints for a new home from Homes For Our Troops for Staff Sergeant Robert Canine, a wounded veteran, with a local contractor.
Click to view larger image Posing with an illustration of the home being built for SSG Robert Canine as a Homes For Our Troops project are, from left, Jim Schepers, Missouri CU, Columbia; Tammy Parks, Missouri Credit Union Association; Doreen Lewis, HFOT; Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-19), and radio host Uncle Scotty.
Click to view larger image From left, a local contractor registers for a Homes for Our Troops project with help from Adam Fox and Ben Blunt of River Region CU, Jefferson City, Mo. (Photos provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
Credit union representatives worked shifts throughout the 14-hour day to inform the public about Canine at the event, held at a Lowe's, said MCUA (The Missouri difference Jan. 29). Canine lost both legs during his second stint in Iraq when an explosion hit his vehicle. "The community support and volunteerism from Missouri credit unions was phenomenal," said Doreen Lewis, HFOT project facilitator. "Everyone back at HFOT is very proud of the group working in Missouri." Registration Day brought in electricians, general contractors, subcontractors, painters, brick layers, landscapers and plumbers, among others. During the day, HFOT announced it had closed on a lot for the project in Thorn Brook subdivision. "I was happy to learn that most people had already heard about Homes for Our Troops from our radio ads," said Margaret McDermott, senior vice president of Columbia-based Missouri CU. "Even those who only took a brochure often read it in the store and came back to sign up." Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-19) and Rep. Chris Kelly (D-24) stopped by the event to support Missouri credit unions. "This is a great project, and it's exciting that the first home in the state is being built in Columbia," Schaefer said. "I'm proud that Missouri credit unions have stepped up and put this together." The project has received attention from Missouri's state legislature, said MCUA. Twenty state lawmakers signed on to be legislative honorary Build Brigade members after MCUA visited legislative offices to explain the effort and solicit support. They will be invited to participate in the three-day build brigade to construct Canine's home. Credit unions have similar projects in other states. Credit unions' involvement with HFOT began in 2008 when the Credit Union National Association and state leagues in Colorado and Minnesota teamed up with HFOT and the Democratic and GOP presidential convention committees to build two specially adapted homes for veterans injured during the Iraq war in Denver and St. Paul, where the presidential conventions were held. Since then, credit unions have joined HFOT efforts in their own states, with leagues acting as title sponsors. The Massachusetts and New Hampshire Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island have teamed up to build a specially adapted home for Army SSG Michael Downing and his family in Middleboro, Mass. Downing lost his legs during combat in Afghanistan in 2008. Credit unions braved freezing temperatures in December's "Build Brigade" and volunteers are working on the home this winter. Downing and his family plan to move in this spring. HFOT has built 50 homes for severely injured veterans since 2004 and has nearly 30 more projects in progress.


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