It’s incredible how one employee’s passion for a cause can permeate a company and turn into a seven-year (and still going) relationship with a charitable organization. As a staunch advocate of veteran causes—and the hiring of veterans CertainTeed Roofing President Tom Smith chose to support Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) and its mission of providing mortgage-free, specially adapted homes to veterans severely injured post Sept. 11.

Most of these veterans have sustained life-altering injuries, including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, or severe traumatic brain injury. HFOT homes restore some of the freedom and independence veterans sacrificed while defending the country, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery and rebuilding their lives.

CertainTeed Corporation, based in Malvern, Pa., was on board with the mission and in 2009 became the exclusive provider of roofing, insulation and gypsum products for HFOT projects across the United States. Earlier this year, the company added vinyl siding, polymer siding, housewrap and exterior trim to the portfolio of products it donates so veterans have even more options.

“We’re extremely proud that our products will help veterans and their families enjoy new homes that are not only practical, in terms of meeting their accessibility requirements, but beautiful as well,” says Pam Schechter, president of CertainTeed Siding.

CertainTeed’s involvement extends to employees volunteering at community build events, most recently held near Philadelphia and in Lee’s Summit, Mo. Construction is handled by trained professionals and takes five to seven months, with the cost averaging $430,000. HFOT has built more than 210 four-bedroom, two-bath homes in the past 12 years. Each one complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and comes complete with roll-in showers, roll-under cooktops and sinks, and other standard accessibility items.

Local CertainTeed sales teams also have participated in ceremonies where the veteran is formally presented with the keys to the house.

“If I learned anything from the experience, it’s that the role of a U.S. manufacturing company like CertainTeed extends far beyond simply making the stuff that goes into constructing a well-built home,” says Bill Nelson, territory sales manager for CertainTeed Insulation. “The technologies and expertise we offer have the power to help transform lives.”

HFOT President/CEO Tim McHale agrees: “While we obviously appreciate the donation of top-of-the-line building materials in our veterans’ homes, the biggest asset for us in this partnership with CertainTeed is that everyone takes this relationship so personally.”


Joanna Masterson is senior editor of Construction Executive. For more information, email masterson@abc.org or follow @ConstructionMag.