By Tina Alvey
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
“Actions speak louder than words,” said the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony staged at a Spa City build site by Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity.
Keith Gwinn, cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, remarked upon the state’s traditionally impressive numbers in military service, pointing out that approximately one out of every 10 West Virginians today is a veteran.
“It’s because of our heritage,” Gwinn explained during his keynote address. “We believe in family. We believe in God. We believe in sacrifice and duty. That’s why we do it.”
The house being built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers at the site of Monday’s ceremony will soon be the home of a U.S. Army reservist and her son, according to Almost Heaven chief development officer John L. Connor.
Following the ceremony, Habitat volunteers took on the task of replacing a leaking roof on the nearby home of Vickie Windon, the widow of an Army veteran.
The day’s examples of neighbors helping neighbors prompted Gwinn to tell those gathered at the site, “Your efforts and hard work do not go unrecognized.”
He added, “I hope that we never forget to honor our heroes.”
Connor urged the crowd to consider volunteering time or money to Habitat projects, reminding all, “It costs money to do what we’re doing.”
Most of all, Connor asked the people to support the ecumenical Christian housing ministry through prayer.
The homes built by Habitat for Humanity affiliates around the world are described in the organization’s literature as “simple, decent housing.” The houses represent partnerships between Habitat and the families who buy them through affordable, no-interest loans.
Also speaking at the Veterans Day ceremony at the Summer Elms development on Tuckahoe Road in the Spa City were representatives of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin. Connor read remarks forwarded from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, and the Greenbrier East High School ROTC Color Guard formally presented the colors.
Greenbrier County native Davis Musser, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, read a proclamation from President Barack Obama heralding the 2012 start of a 13-year program marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
In that proclamation, the president made note of the patriotism and courage of those who have fought for their country, exhorting, “Let us strive to live up to their example.”
Musser also delivered a speech centered on the history of Veterans Day, from its beginnings as Armistice Day in 1919 to its transformation into Veterans Day in 1954 and beyond.
“It’s a great honor to be here,” Musser said.
Monday’s ceremony also served as the kick-off for Cars for Homes Build Week in White Sulphur Springs.
Construction costs at the Summer Elms development have been funded in part through the proceeds raised from the sale of vehicles donated to Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program. Almost Heaven Habitat has raised more than $5,000 through the initiative.
The program provides a quick and easy process for the donation of cars, trucks, boats, RVs and other vehicles. For more information about the program or to arrange for a pick-up of a donated vehicle, call 877-277-4344 or visit www.carsforhomes.org.
To contact the Greenbrier County office of Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, located at 39 E. Main St. in White Sulphur Springs, call 304-647-3342 or e-mail ContactUs@AlmostHeavenHabitat.org.
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