An Associated General Contractors of America-affiliated charity is working with companies in Puerto Rico to rebuild the home of Jose Quinonez, a disabled Army veteran.
Officials say the soldier’s house was looted, forcing him to live in a backyard shack. As part of the charitable organization’s annual Operation Opening Doors effort, many construction firms are donating time, expertise and money to rebuild the veteran’s home.
“The least we can do is make sure this decorated combat veteran can enjoy some of the comforts of home many of us take for granted,” said Jim Clemens, former chairman of Philadelphia-based Clemens Construction Co. and the current chairman of AGC Charities. “Our goal is to use our skills to make life a little easier for Mr. Quinonez.”
Quinonez served in the U.S. Army for over three decades and saw combat with special forces in Vietnam, Somalia and Iraq. Thieves looted his home of all wiring, plumbing and key fixtures. Since his combat wounds have left him partially wheelchair-bound since 1997, Quinonez has been unable to repair his home, and was forced to live in a shack behind the house.
The renovation project will include building a new wheelchair ramp, installing new windows, electrical wiring, plumbing, an accessible kitchen and bathroom, widening all doorways to make them wheelchair accessible, adding air conditioning, repairing the leaking roof and re-plastering and repainting the inside and outside of his house.
“By volunteering for this project, we can chip in a little bit for what this soldier has done for us,” said Joe Vizcarrondo, president of construction company Desarrollos Metropolitanos and a member of the national AGC Charities board. “Nobody should have to fight for their country only to come home to an uninhabitable house.”