Though many government programs impacting our country’s veterans originate at the federal level, whenever possible I will continue to support state initiatives to improve the lives of California’s large, growing veterans population. With well over 200,000 veterans calling this region home, it is also important to encourage and support non-governmental organizations and local businesses when they join together to serve those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.
Homes for Our Troops is one such organization. A privately funded 501(c)(3), the group builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for severely injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Since its inception in 2004, Homes for Our Troops has built over 190 homes, with 90 percent of the funds raised used to finance specially outfitted homes for our country’s most severely injured veterans.
Recently, I was honored to author an Assembly Resolution saluting this outstanding organization at a ground breaking ceremony in Escondido. A new home is being built for Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, who sustained a brain injury and lost both legs to an IED in Afghanistan. Once complete, Sgt. Gaal’s home will have an open kitchen layout, lack of narrow confining spaces and other amenities designed specifically to fit his needs.
The manner in which these funds were raised is truly inspiring. For example, local businesses stepped up to help build Sgt. Gaal’s home and to provide necessary financing and home amenities. These businesses include CertaPro Painters, Youngren Construction, Budget Blinds and Prospect Mortgage.
We must never forget the debt we owe to our veterans. If the outpouring of support for groups like Homes for Our Troops is any indication, we never will. It is truly an honor to represent such outstanding people in the California Legislature.
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center, and Vista.