HATTIESBURG, MS – On Tuesday, September 11, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker will recognize a National Day of Service at a ceremony revealing home repairs provided to city resident Paul Carpenter through the collaboration and coordination of Purple Heart Homes, a national initiative. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at Carpenter’s home (1202 Ida Avenue).
Inspired by the military service of his father, four brothers, and a brother-in-law, Carpenter served in the U.S. Navy from 1979-1980. “If you didn’t go to college, you went into the military. Serving in the military was one of the best opportunities I gave myself,” said Mr. Carpenter.
Carpenter’s home was chosen as one of three veterans’ homes in Hattiesburg to receive renovations through a collaboration with the City of Hattiesburg, Purple Heart Homes, R3SM (Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast MS), The First – a National Banking Association, The Home Depot, the Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association and the National League of Cities. For the second year in a row, this collaboration has provided home repairs, modifications and upgrades for older veterans.
As part of this year’s work, through a partnership with R3SM, several major repairs were made to Carpenter’s home including roofing and weatherization. The damages were a result of the January 2017 EF3 Tornado. The repairs were completed in partnership with the Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association, The Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation, MS Gulf Coast Community Foundation and MS Conference-United Methodist Church.
“As we pause to reflect on the attacks of 9/11, we remember that the strength of our community and nation is in our collective bond to a spirit of service,” said Mayor Barker. “I am proud that our city commemorates this anniversary by coming together to honor of our veterans in this way.”
Under Barker’s leadership, Hattiesburg is one of nine cities working with Purple Heart Homes and the National League of Cities as part of “Operation Veteran Home Renovation.” As part of this national campaign, communities provide repairs such as railings, ramps, and grab bars to make sure the homes of veterans are safe and accessible. Volunteers also provide improvements such as painting and landscaping.
“On 9/11, we pause to pay our respects to those who lost their lives and to first responders who ran toward those burning buildings and lost their lives as well,” said John Gallina, Executive Director and Co-founder of Purple Heart Homes. “Nationwide today is a day of service. Beyond tributes, parades and proclamations, cities such as Hattiesburg are showing our veterans that we truly honor their service by serving them and ensuring they have a safe accessible home.”
The national efforts of “Operation Veteran Home Renovation” is made possible by The Home Depot Foundation. Since 2012, the Foundation has spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars improving more than 37,000 veteran homes and facilities in 3,840 cities.
To learn more about Purple Heart Homes, visit www.phhusa.org.