Manatee Habitat Veteran Build Program is designed to help veterans in our community thrive by creating healthier, safer home environments through critical repairs and improvements. Veterans who are eligible to partner with Manatee Habitat have received assistance in a variety of ways including wheel chair ramps, installation of home and health safety equipment, bathroom rehab, window and door replacement or roof repairs. Participants who partner with Habitat must meet Habitat financial guidelines and other program requirements. The current Veteran Repair program is funded through grants and foundation support and participation in the program is limited in participation due to funding availability and criteria.
Pictured left is Sgt. Juan Garcia and his family. Juan was in the Armor Unit of the Army for 10.5 years and was Honorably Discharged with Medical Disability on February 14, 2010. Juan has a four year old son and is soon to be married and become a father figure to another son and two daughters. In addition to working full time, Juan is pursuing his college education. Juan is excited to be a "Partner Family" with Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and states that having his own home means, "to make the American Dream – to have a future for myself and my family."
The Manatee Habitat Veteran Build program helps homeowners like Lonnie Dixon, an 82 year old Army Infantry man, who served in Korea and was the first African American to serve in the National Guard. After Lonnie’s wife suffered a stroke and developed Parkinson’s, she was moved to an assisted living facility and required a wheelchair to get around. Lonnie found it difficult to bring his wife home for visits because the one and only bathroom in their home could not accommodate her wheelchair. Through the Manatee Habitat’s Veteran Program, and funding from the Home Depot Foundation, volunteers were able to make the necessary repairs to the Dixon home enabling him to be reunited with his wife.
Manatee Habitat installed a new roof on the home of Sergeant First Class Anthony (Scott) Driscoll, a 26 year veteran of the army who served both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Getting help with repairs had been a challenge for Scott whose injuries have kept him from being able to work on his own home. At first Driscoll and his wife were skeptical of the help being offered them through the Veteran Repair program. "There are so many organizations out there that say they help veterans," Driscoll says, "We have truly been blessed to find one of the few that actually stand behind what they say." This repair project was completed in February 2014, with funding from the Legacy of Valor.