Credit union representatives and community members cheered and clapped as Marine Corporal Justin McLoud pulled up to a concrete slab that would soon become his future home. A caravan of 50 Patriot Guard Riders, police officers and firefighters escorted McLoud and his wife Amber to the Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) Build Brigade, where volunteers would take the home from a concrete slab to a weather-tight structure in just one weekend.
Credit unions in Missouri teamed up with HFOT to build the second specially adapted home in Missouri for a severely injured veteran. The first was built in Columbia for SSG Robert Canine. McLoud lost both legs and an arm while serving his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The Build Brigade kicked off with a special opening ceremony on June 15. HFOT President Ken Preston, MCUA Chief Advocacy Officer Peggy Nalls, State Senator Kevin Engler (R-District 3), SSG Canine and Cpl. Justin McLoud all addressed the crowd of credit union volunteers, community members and the media. As 50 Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention in the background, Nalls explained how credit unions in Missouri became involved with building two specially adapted homes in Missouri.
“It all started when Mid Missouri Credit Union, located in Fort Leonard Wood, heard about the opportunity to build a home for a Missouri veteran returning from war,” says Nalls. “So we ran it up the flagpole, and every credit union in Missouri saluted. The way we see it, Justin has volunteered for us and now we have the honor of volunteering for him.”
Credit unions across the state raised $100,000 in a variety of ways. Some collected donations from members, others held employee dress-down days, bake sales car washes and more. McLoud’s new home will be wheelchair accessible to enable him to live independently. The home will have roll-under appliances, wider hallways, no thresholds throughout and pullout cabinets.
“Thank you for coming out today and supporting me and my family,” said McLoud. “I can help do things with my family, you know. With my son, it will be a lot easier to take care of him and play with him. I have a nice big yard, if you guys hadn’t noticed.”
After the opening ceremony, McLoud and his family helped raise the first wall of their new home. By Saturdays, all the walls were up, siding was almost complete and most of the shingles were on the roof.
“Our staff, members and community are very proud to be part of a program that helps such deserving individuals,” says Rick Nichols, River Region president/CEO. “I know Justin and Amber are very appreciative of all that HFOT and credit unions in Missouri have and are doing for them.”
The next volunteer day will take place September 8 for landscaping and other finishing touches at Lot 9 Cindy Lane.
Build Brigade Media Coverage (links active as of June 18)