Healing Our Heroes’ Homes
Healing Our Heroes’ Homes (H3) employs volunteer college students and recent graduates to restore the homes of disabled veterans and wounded warriors. Licensed contractors partner with the students to design and complete whatever work needs doing. Rehabilitation projects can include electrical work, plumbing, flooring, landscaping, installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps and railings, painting, demolition and waste removal, and installing green technology.
On November 1, 2016, H3 undertook to refurbish the home of Lieutenant Niani Wiggins. Niani was born in Fort Riley, Kansas, where her father served in the United States Army. She was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and enlisted in the United States Navy in March of 1991. During her service, Lt. Wiggins endured significant health problems; she lost eyesight in her left eye, was diagnosed with optic neuritis, underwent multiple surgeries and faced a stage three breast cancer diagnosis. Lt. Wiggins retired from the United States Navy in June 2014. Today, she suffers from chronic pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Lieutenant Wiggins is the 11th beneficiary of the Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program, now in its 6th year. General contractors and skilled laborers rebuilt a collapsed retaining wall in her back yard, replaced the lawn and fence, and replaced trees and other plants. The remodel allowed over 100 volunteers to participate. College student volunteers received community service credits at schools including San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and UC Irvine. Partners included The Home Depot and Jack in the Box Foundation. Both companies had dozens of employees on hand to assist with the landscaping project, which was completed on November 17.