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Builder launches Operations Hero House
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A local homebuilding company is doing its part to ensure a wounded warrior and his or her family will have a home suited to their needs.
According to David Hagan, director of sales and marketing for Lamar Smith Signature Homes in Port Wentworth, the company recently founded Operation Hero House — a project that will provide a mortgage-free home to a wounded warrior.
“These men and women have given so much and we’ve been blessed,” Hagan said. “So many men and women are coming home from war, and because of their new challenges, and their new disabilities, they don’t have a home to come home to. It’s what we do — and who better to give a house?”
The recipient, location and design of the home are yet to be determined, Hagan said. A selection committee not associated with Lamar Smith Signature Homes is working on selecting a wounded veteran, he added. The committee, made up of community and military leaders, is expected to make a selection within the next 60 days.
“As soon as they find the recipient of the home, then we’ll build the home around that individual, and we’re looking at breaking ground on or around the Fourth of July — just because that’s a great time to do something like this,” Hagan said.
A team from Lamar Smith Signature Homes came up with the idea for Operation Hero House during a recent annual retreat. After searching other organizations for similar projects, Hagan said the company decided to start its own.
Hagan said the company for years has donated a percentage of each home sold to various organizations, such as YMCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Life Ministry and others.
“We decided that in 2013, because we’ve been so blessed, that we really wanted to up the ante,” he said. “We decided wanted to build a house for a wounded warrior free of charge, pull the community together, pull our vendors and trade partners together and see if we could build a house.”
Hagan worked on the “Extreme Makeover” house built in Beaufort, S.C., in 2011, and Jeff Kramer, the president of Lamar Smith’s Signature Homes, once helped build a house for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dream Home Giveaway. That experience will be combined and incorporated into the construction of this project.
The home will be funded in a variety of ways, Hagan said. Many of the company’s trade partners have already pledged time, materials and labor to the project. In addition, a percentage of the homes purchased from Lamar Smith Signature Homes during the year will go toward funding the house.
“So when they buy a house and provide a house for their family, they’re providing a house for this family because it is their purchase that makes it happen,” Hagan said.
Fundraisers to involve the community in the project will also be held.
Preliminary ideas for the design of the home are being tossed around, but a “hero’s courtyard” is an element that will be included.
“Instead of the normal patio that we build in a back yard, we’re going to build what we call a hero’s courtyard,” he said. “We’re kind of turning the hero thing to where our homebuyers become the heroes. That courtyard will be paved with pavers bearing the name of each of the family of homebuyers this year.”
Homebuyers also will have the opportunity to assist in project “in the spirit of ‘Extreme Makeover’” he said.
The location of the home also will depend on the recipient, Hagan said.
“Originally we said, ‘We’ll build it in one of our communities.’ Obviously, we own the land. But then when we got to thinking, and our goal — or idea at least — is that it will be someone who is already living here or certainly someone who wants to live here,” Hagan said.
For more information, go to or call 445-0932.

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