The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has announced a new partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, which builds smart homes for veterans who have sacrificed their health, many losing multiple limbs during their military service. Gary Sinise will speak at NWFA’s Wood Flooring Expo in April to officially launch the partnership.
“Gary’s participation during Expo this year coincides with the event’s ‘Play it Forward’ theme,” said Michael Martin, NWFA President & CEO. “While we will mark the NWFA’s 30th anniversary during Expo, we also are looking forward as an association and an industry, in business and in how we contribute to society. This collaboration is a significant step, as an organization with 3,000 member companies, to pay forward our knowledge, skills and resources.”
NWFA’s partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program is a long-term opportunity to benefit veterans. NWFA member manufacturers, including American OEM, Mannington Wood Floors, Mullican Flooring, Sheoga Hardwood Flooring, Somerset Hardwood Flooring, and WD Flooring, will provide materials. Distributors and contractors in the communities where homes are being built will also become involved in the process, creating locally based support for the building the homes.
“A lot goes into the building of these smart homes and we are tremendously grateful to our generous partners who lend their support to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program.” said Sinise, Founder of Gary Sinise Foundation. “The NWFA is playing a crucial role in making these homes a reality for those who have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedom and I thank them for standing with us in support of our wounded service members.”
“I know the Gary Sinise Foundation’s infrastructure is in place to construct these smart homes in an efficient and economical manner,” said Barbara Titus, Sheoga Vice President. “I have seen firsthand the difference these projects make in the life of the veteran and his or her family. We are proud to be part of this partnership between the NWFA and GSF. I look forward to other NWFA members joining the effort.”
NWFA members will participate in projects for up to 15 homes per year, and will partner with manufacturers that match the U.S.-based manufacturing requirements of the R.I.S.E. program.
“While we, as a wood flooring association, can of course, contribute flooring products and labor, it’s not about that aspect as much as it’s about giving back a veteran his mobility and dignity,” said Martin. “It’s something all U.S.-based organizations should be willing to do for men and women who have lost their personal freedom of mobility by defending our collective freedom.
“When we were first approached about this idea, I thought it sounded great, but I didn’t fully understand the importance until I was told the story of one veteran’s response to what he was going to enjoy most about his new home. I expected something along the lines of the ease of using automated cabinets or voice-activated technology, but his answer was even more basic and drives home the change to daily life that these homes can provide. His answer was, ‘My son will no longer have to take me to the bathroom. I can go on my own.’”
More information about the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program is available at www.garysinisefoundation.org. NWFA manufacturer members interested in being involved should call NWFA at 800.422.4556.