HSH Partners Climatech and Comfort Supply Come Through In A BIG Way for Gulf War Veteran
Referred to us from Operation Homefront, a Gulf War veteran diagnosed with Parkinson's disease who neeed desperate assitane with their HVAC system. After exhausting many attempts of finding assitance for the veteran and his wife, HSH reached out to our partners at Climatech. They sent a repairman out to assess the situation and after determining that the system could not be fixed, they were able to secure a donation of a brand new system from Comfort Supply. Within a day, Climatech donated the installation of the new system and had air conditioning for the veteran and his wife up and running, significantly helping with the veteran's Parkinson's symptoms. We could not be more grateful for the amazing generosity of both Climatech and Comfort Supply and their dedication to our military and veteran community in Southwestern PA. We are extremely proud to have them as partners!
HSH Volunteers Make A Difference With Columbia Gas
Thanks to HSH Volunteer Kaitlin Hornak for going above and beyond to help to protect your community and our veterans!
Recently, Kaitlin performed a leak survey for Columbia Gas in Pittsburgh. She found leak readings at the foundation of a customer's home and immediately called for a service technician. Kaitlin then spoke to the elderly homeowner to explain what she found and that the gas would need to be shut off until the leak was repaired.
Coincidentally, Kaitlin received an email the following day from Heroes Supporting Heroes an organization that helps veterans and their families with home repairs and other emergencies they can't afford. They were asking for volunteers to help a retired veteran with a gas leak in his front yard. Kaitlin realized this was the same address of the leak she found the day before, and sprang into action.
With the help of a former co-worker HSH Board Member Ryan Waggoner, Kaitlin was able to obtain donated materials and run a new service line, getting the veteran’s gas turned back on immediately. Columbia Gas is so thankful for Kaitlin's actions, they are making a $1,000 contribution to Heroes Supporting Heroes to futher support their mission on her behalf.
In Loving Memory Donation Support Program Launched
In Lieu Of Flowers Make A Donation That Makes A Difference
Southwestern PA is one of the largest veteran communities in the country and also is the home of military installations for every branch of service. Thousands of local service members are deployed around the world each year. Our goal at Heroes Supporting Heroes is to provide much needed support to our veteran, military and senior citizen community. Many of our supporters and volunteers choose our 501c3 as a meaningful place to ask friends and family to donate in memory of a loved one who was passed away in lieu of flowers.
A monthly $10 donation plan or $150 one time donation helps us to complete important support such as regular grass cutting/snow removal for disabled veterans, senior citizens and the family of deployed service members. A monthlly $25 donation plan or $300 one time donation helps us to complete larger projects such as home repairs, constructing of wheelchair ramps and appliance replacement for veterans & families of deployed service members. For example recently the wife of a deployed soldier with 3 young children had their washing machine breakdown and could not afford to replace it or repair it. Thanks to the support of our community we were able to send a volunteer who the wife felt comfortable having in her home and when the cost of the repairs would exceed the cost of the washer we were able to purchase a new washer for the family. This truly helped to take the burden of worry off our soldier on deployment, that we were able to help his family while he was away.
Our support of our local military and veteran community relies completely on the support from our community and 100% of our funding is used locally in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
If you would like to sign up for a monthly giving plan or a one time donation in memory of a loved one, please click the link below. We are also happy to provide personalized graphics with photos and names to be shared on social media or at memorial services. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
COVID-19 MILITARY COMMUNITY SUPPORT
PITTSBURGH (March 27, 2020 ) – Pittsburgh based 501c3 Heroes Supporting Heroes (HSH) today announced the start of a public gift card donation drive, in support of local Western PA military families that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact across our Forces as they continue to support the federal and state government response, in addition to preserving the Force’s ability to provide for our national defense and current worldwide military missions. As our service members take on these responsibilities, many will face financial uncertainty for their own families as the Covid-19 crisis continues. This is particularly true in Western Pennsylvania.
HSH’s Chief Executive Officer, Kristi Hilbert explains “In western Pennsylvania, across branches of service, we have predominantly National Guard and Reserve installations and service members. Thousands of our citizens serve our Nation in these critical roles, however unlike full time actively serving military members, our families primarily rely financially on their civilian employment. In this extraordinary time, as more and more service members and their spouses lose their civilian employment, we are beginning to see a dramatic increase in the number of military families who need our support.”
Heroes Supporting Heroes primary organizational mission is to support stable and safe housing for military members and their families, Hilbert explained their shift in focus during the pandemic; “We are in an unprecedented time in our Nation’s history. Through HSH we have a strong working relationship with all of the Family Readiness Offices at local military installations, in addition to senior Pentagon officials, who we are in regular contact with to assess the needs of our service member families and insure they are being met in a very timely way. Our primary concern is that our military members can focus on the mission, knowing that their families have what they need.”
Using other neighboring states as a model, the prediction is currently that we will see a dramatic spike in requests for assistance coming from local Reserve & National Guard service members in the next two weeks. Heroes Supporting Heroes is trying to insure there will be the vital resources needed readily available for this predicted increase by launching a Gift Card Drive today on their website. Military families will be able to request support directly through their Family Readiness Offices, who are on the front lines keeping a pulse on the needs of their collective group of service members by installation. The primary push is for donations of gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, retail stores for household supplies such as Target & Walmart and restaurants. Donations can be mailed to Heroes Supporting Heroes offices at 7313 Noblkestown Road, Oakdale, PA 15071. Sent electronically to email@example.com and financial donations to purchase gift cards can be made to PayPal on www.heroessupportingheroes.org. All funds and gift cards raised that are not used during the Covid-19 crisis management will be used for needs of local military families throughout the year.
Hilbert believes, “Western Pennsylvania has a history of unwavering support and dedication to it’s military community. It is often cited by military members and leadership as being more profound & resilient than many of the full time active duty communities where they have been stationed. When our region is called on for support, we do not fail to deliver.”
HSH now has a new home!
The newly merged McDonald United Methodist Church (UMC) congregation gifted the properties formerly owned by Noblestown UMC to Heroes Supporting Heroes! In addition to the church building, this gracious gift includes the rental property (former parsonage), as well as a vacant property, adjacent to the church building, that they plan to convert to parking or storage for equipment.
Besides being able to have a location as their home base, they also hope to remodel the building so they can provide space for (1) other non-profit startups (2) veterans and other residents on a job search who need internet access (2) community meetings (2) hosting large group meals to honor veterans and senior citizens (3) youth group activities like faith-based and scouting (4) adult social groups such as quilters or civic groups, and the list goes on!
To do all of that, HSH has begun to plan an extensive remodel to convert the Worship Area to a level surface, add office space, and make needed changes so that the new HSH Office is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
HSH is excited about this new chapter in our non-profit organization and look forward to sharing updates about the remodel in the coming months!
Like-minded groups unite to perform home repairs
By Marsha Keefer
Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:15 am
A shared mission to help those in need fostered a partnership of two local groups that this summer will launch a week-long "blitz" to repair 75 to 80 homes in western Allegheny County.
A chance meeting at an exercise facility united like-minded volunteers to combine their efforts to assist homeowners in Oakdale and Findlay, North Fayette and Moon townships who are physically or financially unable to complete minor home repairs.
Heroes Supporting Heroes and West Allegheny Workcamp will join forces the week of June 22 to paint, repair porches and steps, scrub interiors, build wheelchair ramps and perform other assorted jobs at no charge to qualifying applicants, said John Lee, president and founder of HSH.
Since its inception in August 2012, the nonprofit HSH has been providing similar aid to families of active-duty military, as well as disabled and wounded veterans. Recently, assistance also was offered to senior citizens.
This year, the West Allegheny Ministerial Association teamed with Group Mission Trips, a ministry founded in Colorado in the 1970s that affords teenagers a faith-based opportunity to travel the United States on mission trips to help those in need. For the first time, Group Mission Trips is hosting West Allegheny Workcamp in the West Hills area, one of more than 40 workcamps it sponsors annually.
One day while working out, Lee, a government program analyst, ran into Josh Lutz, son of Jeff Lutz, who is co-founder of West Allegheny Workcamp. After learning what HSH does, Josh suggested that Lee and his father meet. That's when leaders of the two groups, both start-ups, Lee said, realized the similarities of their overall objectives and decided to work together.
Last fall, HSH and WAW agreed to merge to broaden the scope of their community assistance with the ministerial association as fiscal sponsor. In June, an estimated 400 teenagers and adult crew leaders from across the country will travel here on a Group Mission Trip to perform the low-skill, high-labor home repairs.
"We won't have many local teens," Lee said. "The bulk will be from other states."
The allure for most teens, he said, is to travel to mission sites outside the local area.
"Local kids here, they want to go to other states," Lee said.
Work crews typically have five teens supervised by one adult, he said. Participants pay their own way to attend, but are provided with food and lodging -- usually in local churches, schools or community centers -- during their stay.
While here, campers will lodge at West Allegheny Middle School, said Donald Steward, executive director and CEO of HSH and co-founder of WAW.
"Classrooms will become bedrooms that week," he said, with campers, separated on different floors by gender, sleeping on air mattresses or cots.
A fundraising goal of $40,000 would cover the costs of supplies and building materials. So far, more than half has been raised, Steward said. Anyone wishing to contribute can mail checks, payable to West Allegheny Workcamp, to West Allegheny Workcamp, P.O. Box 787, Imperial, PA 15126.
Those wishing to be considered for home repairs need to complete an application form available at www.westaworkcamp.org. Applicants must be homeowners who live within a 30-minute drive from West Allegheny Middle School, Lee said, meet need requirements and be present when the work is being done.
A site survey team will visit each home for an evaluation to assure that it's a safe environment and that repairs can be accomplished by the teens within a week. Some projects that require more skill could be considered and completed by HSH.
Ninety percent of the applicants are senior citizens, Steward said, who can no longer do the work themselves or don't have families nearby to assist.
Already, WAW has received 125 applications. Deadline is April 1.
The week's worth of work donated to WAW translates into about $65,000 in labor, Steward said.
The impetus for HSH was a result of Lee's military deployment overseas the past few years. He's
served his country 18 years, six in the Marine Corps and most recently as an Air Force senior
master sergeant with the 911th Civil Engineering Corps based in Moon Township. Lee has served six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tours have lasted anywhere from six months to two years.
When servicemen and -women are deployed, spouses and children back home often struggle, Lee said, not only from the stress of knowing a loved one is in a dangerous and hostile environment, but trying to keep up with running and maintaining a household.
"You come back home and find out the wife and kids are struggling, trying to maintain their sanity," he said, as house repairs and yard work pile up.
Initially, Lee and his wife, Sheri, assumed the role of helping fellow military families by doing "simple stuff," he said, like cutting grass, raking leaves, trimming trees and cleaning gutters.
Soon, other airmen at the base wanted to help, too, and that's how HSH was formed. Now, about 20 are on the "Key Spouse" list to volunteer when a call or email goes out for assistance with various household repairs like fixing a washing machine or replacing a water heater.
Since the program started almost two years ago, HSH has assisted with 48 projects, said Lee.
Ultimately, he said, HSH wants families to know that "we've got your back. We're here for you."
(excerpt from Heroes Supporting Heroes by Doug Hughey, Allegheny West Magazine, West Allegheny Edition; June 2013)
When Air Force Master Sergeant John Lee was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with the 911th Civil Engineering Corps based in Moon, his wife, Sheri, had plenty of people offering to help with whatever they could during John’s seven-month deployment.
Sheri knew, however, that there was only so much others could do, and that there was only so much she would think to ask of them. A certain pride that goes with being a member of a military family, and an unsaid agreement that keeps families from sharing their day-to-day struggles with deployed loved ones, often means that they end up going it alone.
“There’s an understanding that families don’t want to heap all their troubles on you and add any more stress to a stressful situation,” says John, who, before joining the Air Force, served with the Marine Corps for six years.
As a Marine, John served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and in four tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After John returned home from his most recent deployment, it took about another full year before he, Sheri, and their two young children, Caleb and Lily, felt as though they were really back to life as normal, says Sheri. The experience got them wondering what other families must go through, and what, if anything, they could do for them...more