Veterans Day Home Renovation
On Veterans Day, the Miami HEAT teamed up with Gatorade to renovate the homes of two local U.S. Army veterans as part of the Miami HEAT Home Strong initiative. HEAT President Pat Riley, HEAT Legend Alonzo Mourning and HEAT staffers worked alongside U.S. servicemen and women from the United States Coast Guard and volunteers from Rebuilding Together to repair and restore both homes, including painting, landscaping, flooring and roofing. The HEAT funded the renovations, which benefitted U.S. Army veterans Matthew James and Willie Franklin.
Since completing his military service in 1983, James has worked several different jobs throughout the South Florida area. In 2008, James was the victim of an armed robbery in front of his home, leaving him with numerous severe injuries that forced him to quit his job. He currently works for Camillus House, giving back to the community while searching for additional work to meet his needs.
Franklin served during World War II and saw active duty in New Guinea and the Philippines. In 2006, Franklin suffered a blood clot in his lungs, which led to several mobility issues. Since the passing of his wife in 2011, Franklin’s relatives have banded together to assist him in the upkeep of his home.
The Veterans Day home renovation project is the latest example of the team’s steadfast commitment to honoring our military servicemen and women. In 2006, Pat Riley launched the Miami HEAT Home Strong initiative, an on-going program where members of the U.S. Military who have returned home are saluted during every HEAT home game. The mission of the Home Strong initiative is to give aid, support and recognition to any person who has been in harm’s way during their military service. Home Strong is presented by C1 Bank. Next season, the HEAT will unveil an exclusive Home Strong military uniform to further demonstrate the franchise’s respect for and admiration of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Rebuilding Together is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable housing through home renovations for low-income homeowners.