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10/24/2008:

Nationwide and Tidewater Modular Homes Team with Homes for the Troops to Build New Home for Iraq War Veteran


Systems-built manufacturer Nationwide Custom Homes and builder Tidewater Modular Homes have teamed with Homes for the Troops to build a modular home for Norfolk, VA, veteran Jonathan Bartlett. Bartlett will visit Nationwide’s manufacturing facility on Wednesday, October 22, to see the home in production and which is scheduled to arrive at his home site on November 11, Veteran’s Day.

Founded in 2004, Homes for Our Troops is a non-profit organization that helps military personnel with severe injuries and/or disabilities sustained during active-duty wartime service. It gathers donations of building materials, professional labor and funds, and coordinates new home construction and renovations to existing homes. Twenty-three-year-old Bartlett, who had to have his legs amputated following an injury during an explosion just weeks into his service as an Army corporal in the Iraq War, is a student at Old Dominion University and works part-time for Meridian Group, the PR firm for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tidewater Modular Homes was contacted by the Tidewater Builders Association about building a home for Bartlett, and Donna Belka, who owns the business with her husband Fred, has worked with Nationwide on the project details for Bartlett’s home, working to complete it for Veteran’s Day.

“I feel very honored that our small company was chosen to undertake this project which will make such a big difference in this young hero’s life,” Belka said. “I’m proud that we were able to partner with Nationwide Custom Homes and Homes for Our Troops to make it happen and hope that it will serve as an example for other companies to help other service members around the country. This was one specific soldier, with one specific need that we could help out and make a big difference.”

Bartlett’s home is from Nationwide’s MainStreet collection of homes, and is called the Brookdale. It is a 1,475-square-foot ranch style home with an open floor plan, wide hallways and doorways and is completely ADA compliant. Other key features include: accessible kitchen cabinets, roll-in showers and tubs, accessible water closet, turnaround radius provided at the kitchen and master bath, accessible heights for receptacles, switches, and closet shelving, hardwood floors (for easy wheelchair navigation), automatic door openers at exterior doors, ½-inch sill heights at exterior doors and a covered front porch with accessible ramp.

Nationwide has worked with another builder in the past to build a home at its Georgia manufacturing facility for an injured veteran, and was pleased to be asked to participate in this project. Many of the materials for the construction of the home were donated by Nationwide’s vendors.

“Knowing what the economy is like at this time, we knew it might be difficult for our vendors to consider donations, but that was not the case,” said Andy Miller, president of Nationwide Custom Homes, a division of national Palm Harbor Homes. “Their show of support was overwhelmingly positive and they want this veteran and all veterans to know how much we appreciate and commend their service.”

The October 22 event will include a 9 a.m. reception in the Nationwide Design Center for Bartlett. A Q&A time will be provided for the meeting during the reception. At 9:30, Bartlett will visit the factory to see his home under completion.

Once completed, the home will be taken for display to the Tidewater Builders’ Association Mid-Atlantic Home, Remodeling and Interior Design Show November 7-9 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Bartlett will be at the show at his new home from 1-3 p.m. on that Saturday and Sunday. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Convention Center on Friday, November 7, at 10 a.m. and Bartlett will be at that event as well.

Once the show concludes, Bartlett’s home will make its final trip to land in the Lambert Trail section of Chesapeake, Virginia. The home will be set on the foundation on Veterans Day.

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"It was great to meet you and Bill Jr. yesterday at the Nationwide modular home plant. It was our incredible luck to arrive on a day that you were there! We both appreciate the time you spent with us to educate us on Nationwide's product and your building services. The plant tour was impressive, I can't think of a better way to build a house. We were both surprised at the quality of the standard hardware, cabinets, materials etc. Once we are able to digest all the information we gathered on our trip, we will have a better idea of how to move forward. "

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