Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), Chairman of Project H.E.R.O. (Homes Eliminated of Restrictions and Obstacles) launched a new program to improve the quality of life for veterans with disabilities. The Ohio home of Vietnam veteran Shelby Bowling is the pilot site for a new International Code Council Foundation (ICCF) program. The goal of Project H.E.R.O. is to bring together building officials, architects, engineers, businesses, and other volunteers to help make the homes of veterans with disabilities accessible. ICCF is organizing state coordinators to mirror the pilot program across the country.
“Many injured veterans own homes that are not accessible to someone with a disability,” said Clark. “For a disabled veteran, the key to attaining independence may be an extensive, often expensive, home remodeling project. Unfortunately, some of our nation’s veterans cannot afford to make these necessary modifications. That’s where Project H.E.R.O. and its volunteers can help.”
Bowling, an Air Force veteran, has diabetes and must use a motorized scooter to maneuver through his home. His house does not have an accessible entrance, and his bedroom and bathroom are on the second floor–limiting his ability to access 50% of his home. The Project H.E.R.O. plans for Bowling’s home include an addition with an accessible entrance, a bedroom, and bathroom.
“I’m very thankful for what they are doing for me,” said Bowling. “It has kept me from having to make an immediate decision about how to continue to fight my stairway. I still think it’s kind of unbelievable they have selected me for this. I’m just very, very grateful.”
ICCF is dedicated to changing the devastating effects of natural disasters and other building tragedies by promoting ideas, methods and technologies that encourage the construction of durable, sustainable buildings and homes. It is a subsidiary of the International Code Council, an organization that develops the most widely adopted building codes in the nation.