METALCON Helps Veterans in Local Community

The metal construction industry’s international event for metal construction products, technologies and solutions gives back to the local community during its 25th annual METALCON tradeshow and conference taking place Oct. 14-16 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.

METALCON is partnering with the America’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping U.S. armed forces’ veterans, to raise money for military veterans in need of care at Tampa’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center.

METALCON is no stranger to the local community. At METALCON 2006 in Tampa, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Russell ‘Russ’ Marek of Satellite Beach, Fla., was awarded a new, ADA-compliant accessible home through METALCON’s annual giving back program. Marek who was severely injured in 2005 while serving in Iraq spent more than a year recuperating at Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, which opened its Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in 2014—this year’s recipient of METALCON’s giving back program.

The Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center is one of five facilities in the U.S. designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and servicemembers who have experienced severe injuries.

Staff Sgt. Marek suffered serious injuries when his tank was destroyed by enemy fire. His right arm and leg were severed, in addition to parts of his right ear and left hand. He also suffered severe head trauma and burns to more than 20 percent of his body. “To date, Russ has made amazing progress in his recovery and soon is expected to be walking without assistance,” says Russ’ father, Paul Marek Sr.

METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne was incredibly moved by Staff Sgt. Marek’s courage and determination to move forward. Having maintained a strong relationship over the years with Marek and his family, they look forward to joining together at METALCON’S 25th anniversary celebration.

Knowing many more young military heroes exist, Kilcoyne announces METALCON’s giving back program will continue to benefit the America’s Fund throughout each year, assisting military in all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

“Going forward we want to ensure METALCON’s giving back efforts benefit those brave individuals who’ve put their futures on the line to make all of us safer and able to enjoy all of the freedoms we have,” says Kilcoyne. “By affiliating with America’s Fund, we open the door for more recipients and donations on an ongoing basis, not just at our annual event.”

Donations can be made to America’s Fund throughout the year and can be applied to specific programs or veterans upon request.

America’s Fund is a program created to direct urgently needed resources and financial support to injured and critically ill members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. It is a self-funded program of the Semper Fi Fund. Since its inception in 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has provided more than $100 million in support to veterans and their families.

“We are honored to be chosen as the official charity of METALCON; their support will make a difference in the lives of so many service members and their loved ones,” says Karen Guenther, CEO and president, Semper Fi Fund.

Contributions to the America’s Fund can be made on the METALCON website or in the exhibit hall at The Deck, booth 973. Army Staff Sgt. Marek, along with America’s Fund representatives and METALCON management will be available for comment at the booth on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

GAF Provides Programs and Training in Support of Military Members and Veterans

GAF announced that it has signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support. The document recognizes the pivotal role played by the National Guard and Reserve in strengthening our nation and our communities. The signing sends a strong message of support to GAF employees (and non-employees) who have served our nation.

The ESGR Statement of Support complements other key initiatives GAF has undertaken to benefit military veterans, servicemen and servicewomen. They include:

  • The Roofs for Troops military rebate program, launched in 2012, provides active military members, veterans and retirees a $250 rebate on a Lifetime Roofing System installed on their roof by a GAF Factory-Certified Contractor. GAF is now approaching 20,000 homes successfully helped by this program.
  • Last year, GAF went live with its Hire-A-Hero military job board. The job board provides a platform for employers in the roofing industry to connect with transitioning troops and veterans as they seek to fill key positions within their companies. GAF contractors and distributor partners are posting jobs, viewing applicants and connecting with ex-military job seekers.
  • GAF is rolling out GAF Roofing Academy, a roofing installation training program to help veterans transition to a career in the roofing industry. Pilot classes have been successful as nearly 80 percent of class attendants were placed in roofing jobs. We are currently planning classes in various regions over the next year, including a class this month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. The course includes access to a professional and comprehensive steep-slope roofing primer and a high-level commercial roofing introduction. Veterans win by learning a valuable trade with solid earnings potential. The knowledge that they acquire from this course could possibly lead to other careers including sales, estimating, installation supervision, maintenance and project management.
  • GAF regularly reaches out to veterans’ organizations to assist with fulfilling recruiting needs. For example, GAF has worked with employment agencies such as the Lucas Group, which have a focus on connecting those who have served in the U.S. military with jobs upon their return from service.

“The men and women who have served in America’s armed forces have demonstrated remarkable character, work ethic and dedication in their service,” says Bob Tafaro, president and CEO. “They represent a tremendous opportunity for GAF, for the roofing industry and for the broader private sector. We want to help veterans leverage the talents and leadership skills they have acquired through their service to transition into civilian careers.”

Western Colloid Donates All-Terrain Wheelchair to Veteran

Western Colloid, a West Coast-based coatings manufacturer, donated a very special kind of wheelchair to a deserving veteran during the 2014 holiday.

“We became aware of an organization called the Independence Fund, which brings the generous support of Americans directly to the wounded war veterans that need it the most,” says Western Colloid President Gary Scholten. “The Independence Fund, among other charitable endeavors, helps distribute a very unique piece of equipment which gives those in wheelchairs the ability to climb a mountain. It’s called a Trackchair, which is like an all-terrain vehicle.”

Action Trackchair, based in Minnesota, has been making these specialized vehicles since 2008 to allow people to have the freedom to get off the normal path. These all-terrain wheelchairs allow the mobility to go to the beach, hunt, hike and fish.

“We are really proud of our employees’ participation with this donation. It’s because of their dedication and hard work that we can provide this Trackchair to a real hero. We are all excited that we found out about this special organization and wheelchair. We are honored for the opportunity to make someone’s life a little easier and maybe allow them to participate in the activities they once enjoyed.”