Jacksonville, N.C., Businesses Pull Together To Build Home for Wounded Returning Vet
Gizzarelli, a wounded U.S. Marine vet, returned home following two deployments and more than 10 years of service in Iraq. Operation Finally Home provides custom-made, mortgage-free homes to wounded and disabled veterans as well as spouses of the fallen. Mohawk donated 3,000 sq. ft. of flooring to the home, including carpet, hardwood, laminate and ceramic flooring. The project is one of 16 homes that Mohawk helped build this year in partnership with the organization.
Jacksonville-based Mohawk ColorCenter retailer Watkins Floor Covering volunteered its crew to help build the home. Because of a tight schedule, they were never able to meet the family they helped, but according to office manager Alison Quick, that didn’t matter.
“We are a huge military town, and we felt absolutely blessed being able to help out a wounded warrior. We had the opportunity to give back a little for all that he has given us.”
She called the project “an all-out effort from the store; everyone donated eight hours of their personal time to help offset the labor. We were all very busy, and everybody pulled together to take care of it.”
Jason Watkins, one of the installers on the project, said the project moved smoothly, taking about a week to complete with a crew of around five guys. Donnie Watkins, the owner, added, “It means a lot to us to be part of this project. We felt honored to be a part of it.”
The retailer got involved in the project through Marlo Construction, a local builder that has worked with Watkins Floor Covering in the past. Martin Aragona Jr., Marlo’s president, said his company made the initial contact with Operation Finally Home to find out how they could help after seeing a report about the organization on CNN.
“The whole thing was a very rewarding experience,” he said. “A great family received the house, and they have a wonderful story, both individually as a wounded veteran and also as a family.”
Aragona and his wife coordinated all the subcontractors that donated their labor to the house. He said the process went smoothly from beginning to end. “We contacted Operation Finally Home in early 2011, and it took several months to decide on a wounded warrior. In August 2011 we had the ground-breaking, and in September 2011 we started construction. The house-warming and ribbon cutting was in April. So all told, construction took about seven months.”
Elise Demboski, Mohawk’s vp creative services, noted, “Each family we meet through our partnership with Operation Finally Home is truly amazing, but none more so than Staff Sgt. Gizzarelli and his wife Jamie. Their courage, strength and selflessness are unsurpassed. We at Mohawk feel privileged that we could play a role in building a beautiful home where the Gizzarellis can raise their three young boys surrounded by love.”
Products featured in the home include: Carpet: SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona, Intelligent Style, in the color Cavern; Hardwood:Brandymill in Hickory Chestnut; Laminate:Barrington in Country Natural Hickory; and Floor Tile & Tub Surround: Villarreal in Vanilla Roast.
For more information on Mohawk, visit www.mohawkflooring.com. For more information on Watkins Floor Covering, visit www.watkinsnewfloor.com. For more information on Marlo Construction, visit www.marloinc.com.