By Barbara Allen, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – When Marlborough Country Club hosts the ninth annual Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) Golf Classic on Monday Aug. 12, Veteran Marine Corporal Roger Rua plans to be there, in support and gratitude. Rua, who lives in Connecticut, is one of the future recipients of a home built by Homes for Our Troops, a publicly funded nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely injured post-9/11 veterans through the building and donation of custom-adapted homes. While serving in Afghanistan, Rua sustained multiple fractures to his spine, femur and sternum, as well as a traumatic brain injury, when his military vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device (IED). Initially paralyzed from the chest down, he eventually regained the use of his legs after many months of rehabilitation.
Although the organization offers 40 custom adaptations, the feature he and his family are most looking forward to in their new home will be its one-level design. In their present house, when Rua hears his son crying in his crib upstairs, he must ask his wife Angela to go and get the baby. He doesn’t trust himself, with the pain and muscle spasms he endures as a result of his injuries, to be able to safely carry him down the steps.
“Homes for Our Troops has given hundreds of veterans the opportunity to do things in life,” observed Rua, “to be able to come home and unwind in a safe [place]. Having a home with the unlimited ability to access everything is huge.”
This is especially true, he added, for his fellow veterans who use prosthetic limbs for mobility.
“Most of our veterans wear prostheses,” explained Teresa Verity, HFOT Marketing Associate. “What most people don’t know is that prostheses get painful after a long day. Many of these veterans [rest by using] a wheelchair to get around their own homes. [The adapted home] increases their energy, improves their sense of well-being and helps them to be motivated, to continue on with their dreams.”
Homes for Our Troops, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is a Massachusetts-based organization whose main office is in Taunton. To date, HFOT has built 280 custom-adapted residences in 42 states. Recipients are required to meet certain basic criteria, outlined on the organization’s website at https://www.hfotusa.org/help, but once approved, there is no cost to the veteran for the home itself.
“Our motto is: build homes, rebuild lives,” said Verity. “Once veterans receive their homes, they can continue to move forward with their lives: some have started their own business, others have gone back to school.”
The organization receives no federal funding but instead relies on the financial support of individual donors, private and family foundations, donations of cash and materials from corporate sponsors, as well as money raised by independent fundraisers.
The Homes for Our Troops Annual Golf Classic is the only fundraiser put on by the organization itself; this will be the first year that the event is being hosted by Marlborough Country Club.
“We decided to look into hosting our ninth annual HFOT Golf Classic at the Marlborough Country Club so we could be more centrally located in Massachusetts,” said Krista Landry, HFOT Special Events Coordinator.
The event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be “a scramble style tournament,” explained Landry. “We have a full day of golfing, a silent auction, 50/50, whiskey wall, raffle and poker hand. Along with those fun things, we have a hole-in-one challenge and an air cannon feature at one of our holes as well. All in all, it is a great way to come out and support our mission.”
“We are honored to be a part of this outstanding event that raises money to help our veterans,” said Marlborough Country Club President Scott Bryant, “and we are blessed to live in a country that has a military as fine as ours.”
Marlborough Country Club is located at 200 Concord Road, Marlborough. Visit their website at http://www.marlboroughcc.com. To learn more about Homes for Our Troops, how to get involved, make a donation or host a fundraiser, visit www.hfotusa.org or call 866-787-6677.