Concord, California (EastBayDaily) — As the number of disabled veterans increases, so does the challenge of supporting and housing them.
Dale Beatty and John Gallina, veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, recognized the growing need and formed Purple Heart Homes in 2008. Volunteers for the non-profit organization modify the homes of veterans with service-connected disabilities, adding ramps, handrails, and other renovations that help veterans with day-to-day activities.
Bay Alarm Medical is partnering with Purple Heart Homes during the months of May and June and will donate a portion of company profits on sales during that period. "Home medical alert monitoring helps seniors and people with disabilities remain safer, healthier, and more independent, so the connection is obvious," says Alan Wu, marketing manager for Bay Alarm Medical. "Purple Heart Homes provides a quality of life solution that helps injured veterans live barrier-free lives and age in place in their own homes."
Purple Heart Home directs two main projects that assist veterans with service-connected disabilities. The Veterans Home Ownership program enables veterans to become homeowners through mortgage assistance. The Veterans Aging in Place project helps veterans remain in their homes by making necessary adaptations to the home. The work is done by volunteers and performed at no cost to the homeowner.
"We have been so impressed with how the Purple Heart Homes has attracted committed volunteers from all over the country," Wu says. For example, Vicki Thomas, the organization's Communications Director, recently won a prestigious Encore "Purpose Prize" for her work helping Beatty and Gallina raise money and publicity for the foundation. "I told them I wanted to help pro bono and put them on the map," she told the Huffington Post. Wu explains that Bay Alarm Medical chose Purple Heart Homes because, like Thomas, the company recognizes the importance of the charity's work and wants to be part of it.
There's a growing need for assistance as the number of veterans receiving disability benefits grew by 25% between 2001 and 2008, and continues to rise. With older veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, the main cause is increasing age because some injuries simply grow worse over time. However, recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced an influx of younger disabled veterans who will be coping with severe injuries for the rest of their lives.
"These soldiers might have died on the battlefield decades ago, but now they make it home due to advances in medical care." Wu notes. "They have given so much to our country, and we owe them the best possible quality of life."