School District Supports Building Homes for Heroes

The faculty and staff of Okaloosa County School District raised over $3,300.00 for Building Homes for Heroes® in November by wearing jeans to work for the day.  The event was so successful, and well received, that many staff members have requested to do it again.  

“The staff enjoyed the opportunity to wear jeans and support a noble cause,” said Eglin Elementary Principal, Dennis Samac. 

According to their website, Building Homes for Heroes® is strongly committed to supporting the brave men and women of the military who have returned home from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan with severe wounds and disabilities, with a goal to build homes for families in dire need.

“With several homes in Okaloosa, Walton, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties being built for our Wounded Warriors, this community fundraising event is very much appreciated!” said Kelly Hale, Building Homes for Heroes®.

Hale, who grew up in Pace, Florida, and her husband, combat-wounded veteran, Army SSG Aaron Hale, decided to move to the Panhandle after looking into the presence of military bases, the local news and community support for the veterans.

“What we learned is just amazing in regards to military-community relations,” said Hale.  “Based on what we've learned, and the conversations we've had about how strong the community-military relationship is, we immediately said yes to the Panhandle! We knew that this community is already very active in supporting their military members and veterans – many of whom have retired in the area. Many of these retired veterans have established businesses, held public office to give back to the community, and continue to volunteer and serve the active duty members living and working in the Panhandle.”

Because of this strong community-military relationship, and the ever growing number of combat-wounded veterans seeking to continue their recovery and rebuild their lives in the area, Building Homes for Heroes® is dedicated to increase their presence and support across the Panhandle.  Their goal is to donate up to ten homes in the area in the coming year.

Building Homes for Heroes® first project in the area was for Army SSG Aaron Hale and his family which was a renovation completed thanks to a partnership with CHASE Bank and Randy Wise Homes.  The next major project is a ground-up built home for USAF MSgt Joe Deslauriers in Destin.  They also have two renovation projects planned for Pensacola and one renovation scheduled for Navarre.

“These heroes have children attending our schools and some have family members employed in our school district,” said Deputy Superintendent Kaye McKinley.  “It really was not about getting to wear jeans for a day.  It was about showing our gratitude towards the military heroes in our community.  The schools are excited about a repeat of this fundraiser.”

To learn more about Building Homes for Heroes®, visit their website http://www.buildinghomesforheroes.org/panhandle.

Pictured above: Kelly Hale, Building Homes for Heroes®; Mary Beth Jackson, Superintendent; and Kaye McKinley, Deputy Superintendent. 

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