The Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland recently established the HBA’s Charitable and Education Foundation, and one of its efforts is to support veterans in need. “Each year, the incoming president gets to pick his own charitable cause. I actually set up a separate non-profit that I will continue to run even after my HBA presidency. I will continue to facilitate it and raise funds for it outside of the HBA. It’s called Handyman and a Hammer for our Troops. So many of our veterans have come home from serving in the military, and they have minor repairs that need to be done in their home. But there’s no funding to help them out. They may need a railing or sidewalk replaced or a ramp installed. “I’ve had some meetings with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cleveland, and they usually have a certain amount of money that they allocate for repairs to veterans’ homes. After that, the money has to come from donations, the veteran himself, or from some other source of funding. I told the Veterans Administration that we are trying to fill the gap between what is allocated and what needs to be done. They were really excited about it,” said Enzo Perfetto, president of the HBA of Greater Cleveland and manager of Enzoco Homes. A recent project Perfetto recently was able to reach out to the first recipient of this great cause. He helped Clay Baten a paralyzed veteran in Massillon. “He was on a breathing apparatus and in a wheelchair. To get in and out of bed, he needed a crane to lift him up and move him. He was a big gentleman and his wife could only do so much. “The particular area that he lives in loses power quite often. They have a real bad squirrel problem and it shorts the wires out. They often lose power in the summertime when everyone is using their air conditioner. Every time the power is out, he’s stuck and he can’t use any of his equipment,” said Perfetto. What Perfetto was able to do, working along with the Veterans Administration Hospital, was to get a whole-house generator installed at his home. The Veterans Administration paid a portion of the cost and the rest was raised through an HBA fundraiser. “The project was completed about a month ago. Now anytime Mr. Baten loses power at his home, the generator kicks on and he is good to go. He now has power 24/7,” he said. The total project was just under $4,000, and the HBA raised around $2,000. “We held a casino night and invited a number of veterans to join us. We did a tribute to the veterans and they were really touched. We definitely furthered our cause,” Perfetto proudly said. Perfetto also recently reached out to another veteran. “He needs to make a bathroom Americans with Disabilities Act-ADA accessible. Funds are coming from the VA, and we will be holding a fundraiser to fund the rest of the project.” Why Perfetto reached out According to Perfetto, there is a huge need for these services. “I wanted to do something for these veterans that was tied to the building industry. If we have to swing a hammer or install something, I can do it or get some of my guys to donate some of their time to get things done. It’s a natural fit. “The building industry has been tremendous to me,” said Perfetto. “You get to a point where you want to give back a little bit. I’ve always had an emotional connection with veterans, as most Americans do. God knows that these men and women need to be thanked for what they are doing overseas. “We can make a big impact by doing things that our industry can immediately facilitate. And there are a lot of great volunteers at the HBA. If I get a request from a veteran on the West Side, I can call up one of my guys out west and say, ‘On your way home, can you swing by and fix a railing?’ It’s a great way to get a lot of people involved. It’s also a way to give back that’s related to my industry.” Would you like to help out? If you would like to lend your expertise or services to help a veteran, call Perfetto at (440) 221-9613 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. “We want to get the word out that we need contractors and volunteers. It’s very difficult to always write a check. Let’s face it, these are tough times. Everybody’s heart is unlimited when it comes to veterans, but you can’t always write a check. If you are an electrician, plumber or painter and you want to put in a half day of sweat equity, then we will definitely find a place for you. Just show up with your tools and help us out a little bit. You will make a big impact on a veteran’s life,” he said. Do you have a need? Veterans who have a need can also contact Perfetto. “Depending on our financial levels and the complexity of the project, we’ll be happy to consider your project. As this grows, I hope to have enough money in reserve and a list of trades that I can go to to rally the troops. This will allow us to take on more projects,” he said. The charity Handyman and a Hammer for our Troops is a 501(c)(3), and 100-percent of funds raised go directly to support veterans.