Building Through the Pandemic

BY Elizabeth Reed
12/16/2020 - HVAC Networking

As we all know, 2020 has been a very hectic year for everyone and everything. However, the difficulties we have had to endeavor have not stopped the drive to help those around us in need. The continuation of Homes For Our Troops efforts is definitely a positive to come out of 2020.

HARDI has had a special partnership and relationship with HFOT for several years and it keeps getting better and better every year. Homes For Our Troops is a private nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for post 9/11 injured veterans. HFOT builds these specially adapted homes all over the United States at each veteran’s choosing.

How does HARDI help support this organization?

HARDI members play a part by helping donate the HVAC Equipment, Supplies, and Ductwork to these builds. HARDI members have helped support 50+ builds and this number continues to grow. However, donating to builds is not the only way HARDI members have supported HFOT. Many members also help to give back by fundraising, which has resulted in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support HFOT’s mission. This year, HARDI members donated over $31,000 in cash donations. The sky is the limit for fundraising efforts and HFOT allows for lots of creative and exciting ways to raise money. Golf tournaments, donation jars, text to give, company competitions, bake sales, percentage of sales, you name it!

Pandemic Complications

As the pandemic hit the Nation, everyone had to put many new procedures in place. Thankfully, because construction was considered an essential business, HFOT was able to continue their processes without shutting down. However, they still had to change a few things, and it was not completely smooth sailing. For several months, many of HFOT’s in-person build events had to be canceled and/or moved, including their annual Golf Tournament fundraiser, which would have been the 10 year anniversary for the event!

This year, in-person events have become a hurdle to overcome. With each home that is built, HFOT hosts three different events. The Kickoff Ceremony, Volunteer Day, and the Key Ceremony, which are all events the community and build contributors can attend. They are fun events that allow everyone to meet the veteran and their families, be able to give a helping hand to the building process, great networking opportunities, a chance to see the finished product, and overall a chance to get out and celebrate giving back to those in need. HFOT knows how important these events are and as soon as they were able to safely host them, they got back into business. HFOT made sure to take all the necessary measures they could to follow COVID-19 guidelines for each state and limited the number of people attending these events.

300th Build

On September 12th, 2020, HFOT hosted a very special Key Ceremony to celebrate the completion of their 300th home, which HARDI member cfm Distributors, Inc. helped in donating the HVAC equipment and ductwork. HFOT of course did not want to make this event anything short of awesome! To make this Key Ceremony extra special through the pandemic, they rounded up all who participated in making the build possible and had them create short videos welcoming the veteran home. They put them all into a compiled video to present to the veteran and his family, for an extra special way to celebrate and spread joy through these trying times.

New Ways to Donate

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, HARDI has been thinking of ways to give members more opportunities to get involved in the product donation. The location of the HFOT builds is chosen by the veterans themselves and when choosing a destination, many of the veterans tend to pick the warmer climates in the South or out West. The majority of the veterans receiving these specially adapted homes are missing limbs and/or have severe burns. These conditions make regulating body temperature difficult, so the warmer climates tend to be a lot easier on their bodies. Due to most of the builds being around the same areas, we found most of the Northern HARDI members do not get a lot of opportunities to donate equipment to HFOT. HARDI and the Charitable Work Council came up with a new idea to help get more members the opportunity to donate. We were able to give this idea a test run recently with a build in Hillsboro, Missouri.

cfm distributors, Inc. was able to successfully test out our new sponsorship model idea. This model works by having a HARDI distributor team up with another distributor within the area of a build to help supply the equipment and ductwork. The non-local distributor helps fund and coordinate with another distributor who is local to the build to pick out the right products needed. They will also coordinate with each other to ship the products to the build location. This model allows for more northern distributors to play a part in product donation to HFOT! cfm was able to successfully complete this donation with only a few small hurdles, which mainly were brought on by COVID-19. As cfm Distributors, Inc. was working through this donation, many distributors had low inventory due the pandemic. So, a lot of the products needed for the donation were trickier to get ahold of.

COVID-19 has definitely interfered a bit with HFOT donations and the processes, but it hasn’t stopped them from happening, which we are so thankful for! It is always nice to step back and see our communities helping the ones who need it most, even with all of the chaos going on in the world. We are very thankful for all the members who have helped contribute to HFOT this year! You can see a list of HARDI Member contributors here!

Upcoming Builds That Still Need Donors:

Blaine Sullivan - Las Vegas, NV
Lucas Schmitz - Perham, MN
Randall Young - Wasilla, AK
Kevin Campbell - Kennebunk, ME
Brandon Korona - Derry, NH
Kaleb Weakley - Ramona, CA
Joshua Hooker - Valley Center, CA
Preston Kaplan -  League City, TX


If you are interested in contributing to a build or hosting a fundraiser, contact Izzy Reed at ereed@hardinet.org.

HARDI members can support Homes For Our Troops in a few ways:

  1. Donate the needed HVAC equipment and or ductwork to builds (both is preferred, but if you do not carry ductwork, you can still donate the equipment). Donation to builds also come with the opportunity and invitation to attend the 3 events HFOT holds for each home. 
  2. Donate by hosting your own fundraisers for HFOT. Some examples are Golf tournaments, bake sales, donating percentage of company sales, donation jars at company locations or events, and even internal company competitions with employees to raise money. 
  3. Utilizing our text to give service to donate cash. Text hardi to (508) 500-9511. Learn more: https://homes-for-our-troops.snwbll.com/hardi4hfot
  4. HARDI also accepts cash donations during our dues renewal process. You are able to donate any amount with a minimum of $100.

Thank you for your continued support of this initiative with Homes For Our Troops! We look forward to seeing all of this great work continued in 2021!