Giving Back, One House at a Time

Editor's Message

Giving Back, One House at a Time

Lee Kirgan, construction manager for Operation Finally Home (OFH), has been busy making the rounds of SBCA chapter meetings. OFH is a non-profit organization that builds mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans and their families. In years past, SBCA partnered with OFH to build one home each year in the city that hosted BCMC. This year, SBCA’s relationship with OFH expanded nationwide.

“We plan to hand the keys of a new home to 25 recipients by the end of 2017,” said Lee. “We are also aiming to complete an additional 25 to 30 homes in 2018, so there are many opportunities to get involved.”

Prior to this year’s show, the Truss Manufacturers of Texas (TMAT), the SBCA Chapter of the Capitol Area and the Wisconsin Truss Manufacturers Association (WTMA) were already working with Lee and OFH on projects in Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. In Omaha, Lee visited concurrent meetings of SBCA Illinois and the SBCA Chapter of the Carolinas.

“The men and women in our armed forces have given so much to us through their military service,” said Mike Karceski, president of the Illinois chapter. “So I’m always looking for an opportunity to give back if I can.” Lee spoke to the group about a project currently underway in Illinois. OFH has identified a builder and recipient, and Lee talked with the Illinois chapter members about donating products to frame the home.

Next door, several Carolinas chapter members knew Lee from a house they built for Sgt. Anthony Feaster in conjunction with BCMC 2014 in Charlotte. OFH currently has nine projects in the works throughout North and South Carolina, so Lee followed up on his visit to the chapter meeting with a teleconference, where he shared more details about each project so members could decide which is the best fit for their company.

SBCA members aren’t the only ones giving back in the partnership. “One of my goals when I meet with a builder partner for the first time is to ask them if we can build the house using roof trusses and other components,” said Lee. “I hope a majority of the time they say yes so we can work with SBCA members. If they say they’re not sure, it gives me a chance to talk about the industry’s products and try to convince the builder to give them a try.”

That’s one of the best things about working with OFH. Not only do component manufacturers get a chance to give back to their communities, but they also have an opportunity to open the eyes of builders to the many advantages of framing with structural components.