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RECOGNIZING HOUSE OF HEROES
(Senate - June 20, 2012)

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[Pages S4361-S4362]
                      RECOGNIZING HOUSE OF HEROES

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, today, I wish to recognize the 
important work of House of Heroes--a growing organization that honors 
veterans with dignity, gratitude, and an improved quality of life.
  Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the great opportunity to witness the 
Connecticut chapter of House of Heroes' first projects as it fixed, 
renovated, and remodeled the homes of three of our country's most 
deserving veterans. Over $30,000 of materials and time were donated by 
local organizations and generous individuals.
  House of Heroes is on a mission to help the service men and women of 
our previous wars and their families--heroes who may not always receive 
the recognition they deserve. Frequently, our courageous veterans are 
unable to maintain their homes due to physical disability or financial 
limitations.
  During their inaugural build, the founders and volunteers of 
Connecticut's House of Heroes chose to honor three Americans, who have 
continued to dedicate their lives to serving our country and preparing 
for our future even after their war service. Frederick Joseph Miller 
served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II--
and in 1945, searched the legendary crash of Flight 19 in the 
Everglades. Upon leaving the service, he dedicated his talent and 
skills to Pratt & Whitney as an equipment and facilities engineer. On 
Memorial Day in 1991, Miller's wife passed away from cancer, and 
maintaining his Hamden house has been a challenge.

[[Page S4362]]

  Private First Class Maura Rettman of Meriden served in Germany 
between 1977 and 1979 where she suffered a life-altering car accident. 
Now, she takes care of her grandson with the hope that he can have a 
bedroom of his own. Sergeant Rudolph Pistey of Stratford served in the 
Army National Guard during World War II. Now, at 93, he is well-known 
in his community, always ready to lend a hand or shoot a smile to his 
neighbors.
  Since 2000, House of Heroes has spread influence and awareness from 
its founding chapter in Columbus, GA, across the country. In 
Connecticut, cofounders are Steve Cavanaugh of Biltmore Construction 
and Billy May, a U.S. Army Veteran, Black Hawk test pilot, and business 
development and strategy leader at Signature Brand Factory. They seek 
to complete 10 projects in 2012 and to double this number each 
subsequent year. Both Mr. Cavanaugh and Lieutenant Colonel May bring 
experience, skill, and dedication to House of Heroes. Their hope is 
that general contractors and subcontractors across the state and 
country will donate several hours a week to helping our Nation's 
veterans.
  Amidst the sound of repairs, there were tears in all our eyes when 
the veterans were serenaded by Nashville singer and songwriter, Tim 
Maggart. The song--both solemn and celebratory with spiritual music and 
grounded lyrics--conveyed eloquently the emotion of everyone gathered:

       You were young, scared Willing to go anywhere/ When your 
     country called, you stood tall
       You came home, scarred/Didn't think it would be so hard, 
     You don't like to talk about what you saw/ Beyond what I can 
     comprehend/ The sacrifice of the women and men who gave so 
     much without applause/ I don't know you and you don't know 
     me, but thanks to you, I wake up safe and free/I hope you 
     never feel forgotten, because
       Chorus: You've got a home, in the house of heroes/ Your 
     name will live on in the house of heroes/I want to honor you/ 
     it's been long overdue/You're right where you belong in the 
     house of heroes
       In a world, where Life's not always fair/ And sometimes we 
     have to fight for what we believe
       There's a price, paid I can't help be amazed /By the brave 
     who gave their all for you and me.

  At each House of Heroes project, the spirit of volunteerism, 
patriotism, and human connection was unwavering. As the tremendous 
energy of the House of Heroes' Connecticut chapter spreads across the 
country, this theme song will be an anthem for a national movement that 
touches the lives of one veteran at a time.
  The volunteers and donors of House of Heroes convey a tremendous 
spirit--America's boundless appreciation and spirit. Through this great 
work, and its anthem, we show our veterans-- who fought for our 
security--that America will join together to pay back our debt of 
gratitude by helping our veterans feel secure and safe.
  Appreciative but slightly uncomfortable receiving rather than giving, 
these men and women were shown by House of Heroes how much we treasure 
and owe them as a Nation. Donning House of Heroes t-shirts and bobbing 
along to the music, fellow veterans and citizens showed their thanks--a 
fitting spirit now and in the future.

                          ____________________




    

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