Homes for Heroes

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PulteGroup’s Build to Honor program provides cost-free homes to wounded veterans

While riding in a convoy in Iraq a decade ago, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jerry Majetich’s vehicle was struck by an IED, injuring him critically. In the ensuing firefight, he was shot four times before being airlifted out for emergency care.

In the years to follow, Majetich would undergo more than 80 surgeries and suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. “He calls himself lucky,” says a friend, “because not everyone on his team made it out alive.” Last June, Majetich and his wife Mary Ella were on hand in Ponte Vedra, Florida, for the groundbreaking of their new home, provided to them mortgage-free by Atlanta-based PulteGroup, the nation’s third-largest home construction company.

Majetich is one of 67 wounded veterans to receive a new home through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program since its 2012 inception. Its purpose, says the company’s website, is simple and straightforward: “To thank our nation’s veterans by doing what we do best: building homes and communities to make lives better.”

Groundbreaking ceremonies typically bring out local media, community leaders and hordes of well-wishers. The Majetichs were greeted by residents and neighbors-to-be who lined the streets to welcome them as they saw their future homesite for the first time.

“It is truly an honor for our team to build this home for Staff Sergeant Majetich and thank him for his dedication and service to our country,” said Tony Nason, VP of Operations at PulteGroup’s North Florida Division. “We are so excited to be working with Jerry to build a home that is fully accessible and that will vastly improve his quality of life.” The Majetichs were overwhelmed with emotions. “To try to put our feelings into words is impossible,” the veteran said. “But we’re going to strive to pay it forward for the rest of our lives.”

Carpenter Group notes that since PulteGroup’s founding in 1956 it has built its brand on a commitment to customizing homes to the needs and specifications of the families who will live in them. It’s not surprising that the homes it builds for wounded veterans are carefully designed to incorporate wheelchair ramps, wide doorways, low tabletops and any other features necessary to accommodate special physical needs.

The Build to Honor program works in partnership with veterans service agencies and local builders to identify potential home recipients. Selection criteria are rigorous and set forth on the PulteGroup website: Eligible veterans must be living with disabilities resulting from combat-related injuries incurred during active military service and have a demonstrated financial need.

Last March, U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Edwards, wounded in a 2016 firefight in Afghanistan, arrived with his wife Annabel at Pulte Homes’ Watershed community in Laurel, Maryland, for what they understood would be another interview in the application process.

But the Build to Honor program has a way of surprising its recipients: The “interview” took place at the groundbreaking of the couple’s future home. They were speechless.

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.