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Interview with Homes for Our Troops Volunteer Saied Alavi

Earlier this month, Jim Kollaer interviewed Saied Alavi, operations manager for Marek Brothers Systems, about the volunteer work he and others in the construction industry are providing to build a home for a disabled veteran through the Homes for Our Troops program.  In a blog last week, Kollaer wrote about the project and the veteran, Lance Corporal Daniel Peterson, who will receive the house after an explosion in Afghanistan led to the amputations of both of his legs when he was 20 years old.

Back in November, Alavi was approached by a friend from business partner SpawGlass who wanted to know if anyone at Marek would be interested in helping with this project to build a home for a war hero.  Employees at Marek were happy to accept the invitation, and several volunteered their time and effort.  On the rainy Saturday morning during which Kollaer talked with Alavi, there were 28 volunteers from Marek working on the site, and they were expecting at least 20 to come back the next morning on Superbowl Sunday.  The volunteers from Marek were installing insulation and hanging drywall on the new home, with the help of volunteers from one of their business partners, Ryder Insulation Incorporated.

In the video below, Alavi explains that Marek Brothers is a civic-minded company which is often involved in community projects, but that this project is special because not only is the company providing material, tools and equipment to the project, but the employees are additionally volunteering their time.  They are doing the work on weekend days and are not being paid, because they want to feel that they are giving something of themselves back to the community and to the young man who had given his service and ultimately his legs for the country.  When the weather turned out to be stormy, instead of rescheduling the workday, the volunteers told each other that the Marines who serve our country do so in all types of weather without having the choice to wait for a good day.

Alavi then goes on to explain exactly what work the team from Marek is doing on the house.  Kollaer asked for details about the work, and learned that the house is being built to the higher commercial quality of construction instead of the usual less expensive residential level applied to most houses.

Finally, Alavi revealed that many other Marek employees who were not able to come to the job site to work were contributing to the project by collecting money which will be used to purchase some of the start-up supplies which Peterson will need to set up his new home.  The gifts will be presented along with the keys to his new home when the house is completed next month.

Homes for Our Troops is a national organization that coordinates donations and volunteers to build homes for veterans with serious disabilities and injuries who would otherwise find it difficult to live and move around in a regular house.  A non-profit organization, they welcome donations of money, supplies and labor in order to provide the homes to the veterans at no charge to the veterans.

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