For the past two years, we have partnered successfully with Habitat for Humanity – a nonprofit housing organization founded on the conviction that everyone should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. Our goal is to give back to the communities in which BAE Systems has a significant footprint, and where our employees live and work.

This relationship has taken different forms across the country, from monetary donations to hands-on new construction and remodeling projects. In these cases, employees give their time and effort to benefit families in need, including veterans and their family members. In fact, in 2015, BAE Systems was the first partner that went to Habitat for Humanity with the express intention of supporting veterans, and this partnership is now thriving.

Employees roll up their sleeves to assist veterans in need

Alongside a significant corporate donation, in 2015 our employees from Kingsport, Tenn., and San Diego, Calif., volunteered their time with Habitat to participate in events that helped veterans and their families. In San Diego, our employees built a new fence for a disabled Marine Corps veteran whose property was in a state of serious disrepair. Later that year, the team assisted in installing a new patio for a veteran. Our Kingsport employees participated in a successful Blitz Day – an event held across the country at the same time where Habitat pairs with contractors and material suppliers to build homes in just 12 days! More than 200 homes were built that week, including one that our Kingsport employees helped build in Johnson City, Tenn.

A bigger and better 2016

In light of the success in 2015, and the amount of employee participation and enthusiasm this created, the partnership was further expanded for 2016. In April, Kingsport employees helped break ground on a new home for the Rawdons – a family willing to put in the sweat equity required for the project. In San Diego, our employees participated in several events, including building homes for low-income families and painting the exterior of two veterans’ homes, one belonging to an 88-year-old World War II Navy veteran. In Sterling Heights, Mich., our employees stepped up to help build a new home for a veteran in Clinton Township, Mich.

Connecting to the recipients

These projects have a profound impact on the recipient and their families. In Minneapolis, Minn., employees volunteered over a two-day period to refurbish the exterior of a World War II veteran’s home. James Brown served proudly in the military for 16 years before retiring and working full time for Veterans Affairs as a heavy equipment operator. Now 106 years old, he lives with his wife Mary Lee in their 115-year-old home, which was in great need of updating. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, our Minneapolis employees rolled up their sleeves to scrape, wash, prime, and paint the home’s exterior. They replaced and repaired rotted window sills, railings, and installed a wheelchair access ramp that provided the Browns with the home improvements they needed.

Beverly Brown, daughter of James and Mary Lee, was thrilled about the home improvements. “My parents have lived in that house for 67 years,” said Beverly. “Once they saw the finished product, they called all of their friends and family to tell them how happy and excited they were.”

Looking forward to a future of giving back

Meeting people like the Browns and partnering with our communities is one of the main reasons we’re excited to continue our relationship with Habitat for Humanity. We look forward to giving back to even more veterans and their family members in the years to come.