Homes for Our Troops Will Turn Over the Keys to Marine CPL Visnu Gonzalez

HILLSDALE, N.J. -- Homes for Our Troops founder John Gonsalves will turn over the keys to Marine Corporal Visnu Gonzalez, a paralyzed veteran, on Tuesday, November 10 at 11:00 at 28 Cross Street in Hillsdale, NJ.

This home will be presented to CPL Visnu Gonzalez at no cost thanks to a generous grant from the Sierra Club Foundation and countless professional tradespeople that donated time and materials.

Homes for Our Troops achieved the US Green Building Council's LEED-H Platinum Certification. This program focuses on the complete environmental impact of residential building. The home achieved 95 points - 14 more than were needed to achieve a platinum rating.

It is also the first New Jersey Climate Choice residential home constructed in the state that is administered through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. New Jersey's Climate Choice Home program incorporates New Jersey Energy Star Home standards and renewable energy technologies that result in nearly zero energy use.

Corporal Visnu Gonzalez was shot by a sniper, severing his spinal cord in the C-6, C-7 level on April 21st, 2004, while serving in Iraq. He also received a shot to his left subclavian artery that caused severe bleeding and near death. Despite surgery to stabilize his vertebra, today CPL Gonzalez remains paralyzed from the upper chest down.

"We have so many people to thank and acknowledge for the work they did on this house for CPL Visnu Gonzalez," said John Gonsalves, founder of Homes for Our Troops. "One of our goals is to bring community together to help build barrier-free specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans, and the community of Hillsdale and surrounding areas showed up in spades to make this proud day happen."

Homes for Our Troops sponsors for Corporal Visnu Gonzales include:

-- Harvey Windows that designs all of its superior quality windows
-- Plygem Mastic provided the advanced locking system siding
-- Davinci Roofscapes provided the slate roof titles with a sustainable advantage and 50-year warranty
-- Fypon - molded millwork and columns for the house
-- Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, providing financial assistance and quality-of-life solutions for marines
-- Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins Community Foundation - the Build Brigade sponsor

It is fitting that the keys are presented to Marine CPL Visnu Gonzalez on the Marine Corps' birthday, which was officially founded in 1775, and it is also the day before Veteran's Day when Homes for Our Troops recognizes and thanks all the men and women who proudly serve and have served in the US military.

Features in CPL Visnu Gonzalez's home include:

-- The home is completely handicap accessible and includes an elevator and a lift care system.
-- About 70% of the home's electricity will come from solar panels.
-- The flooring is made of bamboo.
-- A 1,500-gallon underground tank collects rainwater for irrigation.
-- Heating and cooling costs will be reduced by 75 percent thanks to a geo-thermal heat pump.
-- It has an Energy Star Indoor air package - meeting criteria for healthy indoor air quality.
-- The windows are triple glazed and filed with Krypton gas to avoid heat transfer through the glass.
-- The project was built on an infill lot with access to dozens of services and public transportation to decrease the need for automotive travel.
-- Building materials to construct the home were ordered to exact specification to decrease waste.

Homes for Our Troops will receive a check at the key ceremony for CPL Visnu Gonzalez as it begins a year-long sponsorship relationship with the FujiFilm program.