Southern Living is proud to partner with Operation FINALLY HOME, a national, non-profit organization that builds custom, mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans, as well as widows of the fallen. This mission is accomplished through a network of experienced builders, suppliers, and generous supporters like JCPenney. With each new floor plan (Operation FINALLY HOME will donate 30 homes to veterans in 2016), we’re literally Building Hope for those who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms. It’s an easy mission to stand behind: Like Southern Living, the organization is dedicated to building community and enriching lives—and it all starts with home.
Owning a new house is a powerful foundation to help veterans and their families move forward. The selection process for finding the right family begins when a builder is found that’s willing to work in a particular region. After the location is secured, Operation FINALLY HOME works with medical case managers, recovery care coordinators, and the Veterans Administration to recommend candidates. Once potential families have been identified, each one fills out an information package about their military service, their injury or illness, as well as the other personal challenges that they (and their family) are facing as a result of their injury or illness. Operation FINALLY HOME reviews the details and makes their selection.
For our first Building Hope initiative, a modified ranch-style home was built for U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Clifton “Ray” Coffey and his family in Georgetown, Texas. An enthusiastic and hard working team of volunteers gathered on a sweltering, late summer weekend to devote their talent and expertise, building supplies, resources, and muscle to finish the final details. Southern Living custom builder Gary Henley, president of Henley Homes, Inc., built the home. For the interior, Southern Living designer Edwina Alexis created a calming and beautiful coastal oasis. Sponsor JCPenney generously donated furniture, welcome baskets, and a $2,500 gift card to help the Coffeys get settled however they please. “This whole experience has been very humbling,” says Melanie Coffey, Ray’s wife. We are absolutely delighted with the results! The transformation of the main living spaces create a more welcoming and calming atmosphere; the house is definitely more conducive to relaxing, casual, fun family time and gatherings. We have been blessed beyond measure. Words just can't explain our gratitude.”