Circle of Honor: Stories of Your Impact
We are so thankful for each and every one of our donors. On this page, you can read about some of our Circle of Honor supporters who have made a life changing impact in the lives of our Veterans.
Leo & Trish Eineker
Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) relies on the support and advocacy of individuals to expand our network and make a life-changing impact on the Veterans we serve. By spreading the word and sharing a passion for helping Veterans, we all have the power to bring about positive change. Leo and Trish Eineker are two individuals whose story is a testament to the impact that advocacy can have on the lives of our nation’s Veterans. Leo and Trish’s initial introduction to HFOT stemmed from a chance encounter at a local café with two of HFOT’s key supporters. “Trish and I were at a local café,” Leo recalls. “While we were eating, Deb Kehoe and Kathi Skelton, fundraisers for HFOT, recognized that I was a Vietnam Veteran. They invited us to participate in a Homes For Our Troops fundraising golf tournament at Rosedale Country Club. At the club, we met several current and future HFOT home recipients and their families, all of whom were Florida residents.” The initial introduction at the café and the subsequent invitation to an HFOT event would lead Leo and Trish to become donors and passionate advocates for HFOT’s mission. Both Leo and Trish come from families with a proud legacy of military service. It was only natural for them to connect with HFOT and dedicate themselves to supporting Veterans in need. Leo served in combat in the Vietnam War as an Army Platoon Sergeant in the infantry. Leo’s father was a combat infantryman in WWII, enlisting as a Private. He received a field commission and retired four years later as a Captain. Leo’s uncles also served. One was a combat infantryman who died in Italy, and another was a Purple Heart recipient with the Marines at Iwo Jima. Trish’s father was a Korean War Veteran. Leo and Trish actively participate in HFOT events, volunteer to help landscape the homes, and joyfully witness the HFOT families in their community thrive and grow after receiving their specially adapted custom homes. When asked what sets HFOT apart, Leo and Trish shared their heartfelt perspective. “HFOT goes beyond the norm, making everyone, including donors, feel like part of the family. The staff, the Veterans, and their families remember us and make us feel genuinely appreciated. HFOT has a lasting impact on these Veterans and their families.”
Leo and Trish’s story serves as a reminder of the profound effects of a simple conversation. The power to expand HFOT’s network of support lies within each one of us. With a friendly smile and a genuine passion for helping Veterans, your advocacy can have a life-changing impact. If you can, take a moment to tell a friend or two about HFOT. You never know the ripple effect a conversation can have in transforming the lives of our nation’s Veterans. Together, we can make a difference.
David & Sharon Leiman
Working with HFOT donors is always a special privilege, and even more so when you find donors who are totally committed to improving the lives of others. Originally from New York City, HFOT supporters David and Sharon Leiman embody that true spirit of philanthropy, giving back to their community in large and small ways. In fact, David and Sharon seem to create community wherever they go with their warm and welcoming personalities and spirit. In addition to their generous support of our mission, Sharon and David share their time, talent, and treasure in many ways. In New York, while David and Sharon enjoyed access to the incredible arts and culture available, David served (and still serves) on several charity boards. When they came to the small mountain town of Flat Rock, N.C., they carried that passion forward, serving on the Boards of the Veterans Healing Farm, The Flat Rock Park Foundation, and The Flat Rock Playhouse (The State Theater of North Carolina). There they created a Garden of Remembrance to remember the Leiman Family and millions of others who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The Leimans remain passionate about educating children and all others about the Holocaust and other genocides to help ensure that those after us will have the knowledge to remember, reflect and never forget. Sharon and David learned about HFOT in late 2021, when they were looking for a reputable Veteran charity, and quickly became avid supporters of our mission through their giving and their participation in the Key Ceremony for Justin and Katie Callahan in February 2022.
David had this to say: “It is our duty, as citizens of the world, to never forget the Holocaust and be ever so thankful to our Brave Troops who step forward to ensure genocide does not arrive on the shores of these beautiful United States of America. A small article about HFOT in a local Flat Rock paper; a phone call to find out more; a rapid response from the heart, was all we needed to be involved. We looked at the opportunity to greatly expand our longtime habit of offering a coffee, a donut, some dessert, or sharing a pizza or beer with anyone in uniform. Thank you, Homes For Our Troops, for expanding and enhancing our feel-good moments, allowing us to help more military families like Justin and Katie, and their smiling children.”
The Leimans primarily give through their Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. This option for giving is one that many donors are not familiar with, and is a beneficial and fairly simple way to create a donor’s very own legacy of philanthropy. You will see, firsthand, the impact of your gift during your lifetime. HFOT is thankful for the Leimans’ tremendous support, and we encourage you to consult your own financial advisor to see if an IRA gift to HFOT (a 501(c)(3) organization) is the right option for you.
Jennifer Lynn Kane
Jennifer Lynn Kane was working on the 100th floor of the North Tower in the World Trade Center, when she lost her life in the September 11 attacks. She was 26 years old. To honor their daughter’s memory, Jennifer’s parents, George and Faye Kane, founded the Jennifer Kane Scholarship & Charitable Trust, which seeks to support philanthropic causes that mirror Jennifer’s kindness and her ability to bring joy to others. These longtime HFOT donors have turned the loss of their loved ones in the September 11 attacks into ways to honor them. Since 2007, the Jennifer Lynn Kane Scholarship & Charitable Trust has awarded nearly $300,000 to Homes For Our Troops, to assist the organization’s mission in rebuilding the lives of severely injured post-9/11 Veterans.
Evelyn Malm and Gail G. Hayes
Evelyn and Gail, both retired teachers from Massachusetts, have been faithful supporters of Homes For Our Troops for the last several years. They learned about the organization from their former student, HFOT’s Director of Development Chris Mitchell.
“After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we both felt we owed thanks to those Veterans who served in harm’s way and made great sacrifices to protect all of us at home. We learned that Homes For Our Troops (HFOT), a top-rated charity, is unlike other Veteran organizations. Rather than just building homes, HFOT continues to provide assistance and financial advice to the Veterans and their family long after the key is turned over to them.”
Having immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, it’s important to Najib “Naji” Azar to support the Veterans who protect and defend the country that has given so much to him.
“I am grateful to this country for the opportunities I have had here to build my life and raise my children in safety and peace, all thanks to our troops who sacrificed everything to protect this nation,” he says.
For his 60th Birthday, Najib wanted to celebrate the milestone surrounded by loved ones while supporting the Homes For Our Troops mission of building and donating specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans. He has been a dedicated supporter of the organization since its inception in 2004!
At his birthday bash, Naji asked his 100+ party guests to donate to HFOT in lieu of gifts, and also had a collection stand at the event. The party was a success, raising several thousand dollars for the organization.
Fred & Barbara Murphy
Lieutenant Junior Grade Fred Murphy served in the Navy during Vietnam and suffered multiple illnesses later in life related to his service. For this reason, he wanted to make it his legacy to support severely injured Veterans. His wife, Barbara, has kept this promise and the memory of her husband alive by making a donation to Homes For Our Troops on his birthday in November every year since his passing in 2016. Barbara and Fred learned about HFOT when researching Veterans’ charities online. They were impressed with the organization’s mission of building and donating specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, enabling them to rebuild their lives. “We loved the idea of the private sector providing support for Veterans’ needs,” she says. Fred was a senior at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., when he enlisted in the Navy in 1969. He went to Officer Candidate School before deploying to Vietnam. “Fred was proud of his service to Vietnam and never regretted it,” says Barbara. After being discharged from the military, Fred became an anesthesiologist in Boston. Barbara, who was a nurse anesthetist, says philanthropy became a priority to them when they retired. In addition to Barbara’s annual tribute gift in honor of Fred, they have named HFOT as part of their estate planning efforts to create a lasting impact with their legacy.
Homes For Our Troops is fortunate to have many loyal and dedicated supporters whose generosity helps advance our mission of Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives both during their life, and as a part of their legacy. Jim Seiberlich was one of these upstanding Patriots. Jim, a retired Army and Korean War Veteran, had a deep passion for supporting the brave men and women who served our country. He not only proudly flew the American flag every day outside his home, he also took care of our nation’s severely injured Veterans by donating to Homes For Our Troops. Jim first became involved with Homes For Our Troops when he was living in Arizona, and contributed to the building of Army Sergeant First Class Mike Leonard’s home there. When he moved back to his home state of Minnesota, Jim wanted to continue his commitment to the organization’s mission by supporting a local build, giving a substantial gift toward SSgt Dominic Fernandez’s home in nearby Lakeville, Minn. Although Jim passed away before Dominic’s project was completed, his family was able to attend the Key Ceremony and honor Jim’s memory with Dominic.
Like many of you, Gary Fredrick learned about Homes For Our Troops through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Back in 2008, the local credit union near his home in New Brighton, Minnesota, promoted a build for a local Veteran, Army Sergeant Marcus Kuboy. He and his wife Elaine did their homework, made sure HFOT was an “A” rated charity, and made a donation that year and in subsequent years. In 2014, Gary and Elaine attended Army Specialist Marco Solt’s Community Kickoff in Minnesota and got to hear Marco’s powerful words about how meaningful the home would be to his recovery. “As I was retired by then, I realized I needed to step forward and help the mission,” he says. As an Army Veteran himself, Gary is no stranger to service, and he has given so much to HFOT ever since. He is one of HFOT’s most vocal and staunch supporters, donating his time in various ways. Gary is an active volunteer and an HFOT Community Outreach and Engagement (CORE) Ambassador, serving as a photographer at build events, attending fundraisers as an official HFOT representative, and promoting the mission locally in Minnesota. And, it’s a family affair! If you see Gary out at an event, he is often joined by his wife, Elaine, and his three grandsons. When not volunteering for HFOT, Gary spends time with his grandsons, teaching them archery, cycling, and now golfing with them. He says that is by far the “BEST JOB EVER!”
Charles & Carolyn Klohe
Charles R. Klohe Jr. truly lived a life of service, to his country, his colleagues, and to his loving wife Carolyn and their family. Charles was a decorated Veteran who served in the US Army during Vietnam. Charles enlisted on March 2, 1964 and served until March 1970, when he was honorably discharged as a Specialist. Charles and Carolyn have contributed to a number of causes throughout the years, but were passionate in supporting his fellow Veterans due to the belief that “those who served in the military and were injured need to be appreciated more and taken care of.” To do this, they had hoped to rehab a property of theirs and provide it as a home for an injured Veteran. Unfortunately, before they were able to complete this dream, Charles passed away on September 21, 2020. Wanting to continue honoring her husband’s wish to help a Veteran, Carolyn sold the property and donated the proceeds to Homes For Our Troops. This incredibly generous gift will go on to help build the specially adapted custom home of Marine Lance Corporal Bryan Chambers in Attica, IN. Carolyn hopes that the adaptations in Bryan’s new home help him “have a life of enjoyment, comfort, and ease.” This home will not only serve to help Bryan rebuild his life, but will stand as a legacy to honor a life well lived. We look forward to honoring Charles and Carolyn Klohe at the Key Ceremony when Bryan’s home is completed. Bryan is grateful to Carolyn and her late husband who will make his dream of living in a barrier-free home a reality. “I’m thankful there are people like you,” he says. “You are truly making a difference in the lives of my family.”
*Some of our donors choose to remain anonymous and we respect those wishes, but wanted to share their special story.
Support for Homes For Our Troops comes from a variety of sources, with a substantial portion of donations from individuals. HFOT’s donors have their own reasons for giving, and every donor is a valued member of our HFOT Family. Two donors, a married couple from New England who wish to remain anonymous, have been part of the HFOT family for years. The husband is a West Point graduate who served in the 82d Airborne Division, and his wife is a former nurse who worked at Fort Bragg. “As a former Army officer, there is a very natural and genuine connection with organizations that support our Veterans. HFOT has a great mission. It fits squarely with our family’s values,” the husband shared, explaining why they hold Veterans close to their hearts. The couple first heard about HFOT through Bill Ivey, Executive Director of HFOT, and the husband’s former Army boss. “Ivey was a tremendous boss—he always led by example. When I found out that Bill was Executive Director of HFOT, I knew HFOT would be an organization of integrity.” With this knowledge, it became apparent to both husband and wife where they wanted their contributions to go. “HFOT is an outstanding organization. First, they serve a population frequently underserved by other channels; our severely injured Veterans. Second, they are very targeted in their mission. HFOT has a singular focus on building adapted housing for severely injured Veterans. When organizations focus and focus well, they deliver, and they do so efficiently. Third, HFOT has an outstanding record in terms of keeping overhead lean and getting the maximum dollars possible to serve its core mission of building adapted housing.” This dedicated and generous couple focuses their support on HFOT and the Veterans they serve. They urge others to do so as well. “If someone is looking for a first-class entity, an entity that sticks to its mission, an entity that embraces traditional American values, and an entity that serves an incredibly deserving demographic, our severely injured Vets, HFOT is a superb option.”