Like many nonprofits, Vets Returning Home in Roseville has been struggling in the last year due to fundraising difficulties because of the prohibition against social gatherings. It has relied on the help of donors such as Young Supply Co., of Chesterfield Township, and Charter Home Comfort, of Harrison Township.

Like many nonprofits, Vets Returning Home in Roseville has been struggling in the last year due to fundraising difficulties because of the prohibition against social gatherings. It has relied on the help of donors such as Young Supply Co., of Chesterfield Township, and Charter Home Comfort, of Harrison Township.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


HVAC companies donate sterilizing air system to Vets Returning Home

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 24, 2021

 Young Supply Co., of Chesterfield Township, and Charter Home Comfort, of Harrison Township, donated a new sterilizing air system to Vets Returning Home, of Roseville, Jan. 15.

Young Supply Co., of Chesterfield Township, and Charter Home Comfort, of Harrison Township, donated a new sterilizing air system to Vets Returning Home, of Roseville, Jan. 15.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Advertisement

ROSEVILLE — Vets Returning Home in Roseville has been helping homeless veterans for the last seven years, but the last year has been the most challenging of all.

Sandy Bower, the founder and volunteer director of Vets Returning Home, said that being unable to host large events to raise money has left the nonprofit financially troubled, particularly since it doesn’t accept any government funding. Having many veterans to help while worrying about the spread of COVID-19 has only made the concerns grow.

“When COVID first hit, we have 43 beds here, and all of our beds are full. We had two veterans sleeping on cots, so it was concerning,” she said. “How do you socially distance 45 people in an 11,000-square-foot facility? We did it, though. One of our veterans was highly trained in (hazardous materials), so he was our essential services guy who would come and go to pick up prescriptions for the house, or essentials like milk and bread. We did 40 days of complete lockdown, but it wasn’t healthy for these guys being stuck in this facility for that long.”

Bower said unusual measures had to be taken to keep the facility safe.

“I even brought in an RV in the parking lot in case someone became symptomatic, so we had a place to isolate them,” she said. “My son happens to be an exterminator, and he kept coming in to sanitize as people started to come and go and we had new people transition in.”

The organization has had to rely on unconventional donors and methods of collecting money just to stay afloat.

“We only do two fundraisers a year. Our main fundraiser was scheduled for March 14, and I had to cancel it March 13,” said Bower. “It’s been challenging. The community has stepped up quite a bit to help us get to this point, but the concern is going forward, that because there is no indication of when we can have large gatherings again, how we are going to keep going financially.”

Two donors recently came through with a way to help Vets Returning Home like few could. On Jan. 15, Young Supply Co., of Chesterfield Township, and Charter Home Comfort, of Harrison Township, donated and installed a new sterilizing air system that will not only reduce costs for the organization, but also help prevent the spread of germs.

“My brother-in-law is a vet, and he worked a lot with vets in Colorado where he was a deputy sheriff, and when he came here, we discovered Vets Returning Home. Sandy Bower, who runs it, is involved in the community, so we met her at a couple of events, and we’ve worked with her ever since,” said Terry Tarantine, the Young Supply Co. director of heating, ventilating and air conditioning sales. “Young Supply has donated various commercial refrigeration equipment, and we’ve involved them in projects we’ve done in the past. Ten percent of our workforce is veterans, so we feel it’s really important to give back to the vet community. Our owner, who recently passed, Ron Vallan Sr., also was a veteran, so we had that connection, as well.”

The two companies installed what is called a Sterionizer system. Tarantine said the technology helps reduce the presence of COVID-19, the flu, the common cold and even mold spores on surfaces.

“What Sterionizer does is that, while there are a lot of bipolar ionizers out there in the marketplace, and it’s a very fantastic technology, but there’s a limiting factor that as you ramp up ion production, ozone tends to follow. Sterionizer found a way to mass produce up to a trillion ions a second with an ozone output of only 0.001 parts per million, so we can protect larger spaces with smaller equipment,” he explained. “It’s a proactive technology that goes out into the office and is like shining an ultraviolet light on germs.”

Bower said she was blown away by the donation.

“When these guys said they would donate this system, it was a big step,” she said. “I think it will give our veterans and staff a lot of comfort knowing that we are going above and beyond. It’s very comforting having this extra precaution in place.”

Tarantine said helping Vets Returning Home was a natural fit for them since they were excited to try out the new technology and were looking for a way to get the word out about it.

“We were thinking how we could kick off this new product line and we thought we could do a really good deed for veterans and launch a product at the same time,” he said. “Charter Home Comfort, the installing contractor, when they did their open house, they did a promotion where $5 from every maintenance agreement they sell went to vets and recently gave Sandy a check for $2,000, so they were the natural contractor that I reached out to for this installation.”

Both Bower and Tarantine said how lucky Vets Returning Home has been to have not had any COVID-19 cases so far despite so many risk factors at play. They both are hoping this new system will allow them to rely a little less on luck.

“They have been lucky so far that COVID hasn’t had a big effect here. Sandy had them in lockdown and they had very strict protocols, but you have 43 people living here at any given moment plus staff, so you have 50 people in the facility, and this will allow them to breathe easier and save money on their maintenance. It means a cleaner, safer, more sterilized environment,” Tarantine said.

It’s one more thing off Bower’s mind, but she and the rest of her team are still looking for ways to ensure they can continue their mission of helping at-risk veterans.

“We’ve had to think outside of the box other than large fundraisers,” she explained. “One of our donors donated a 2005 Thunderbird that we raffled off and raised $35,000. We’re trying to put little plexiglass (collection) boxes in not only party stores, but (in the offices of) dentists, attorneys, doctors — anyone with a lobby or waiting room. We’ve also started a supporting partner program. This is where people can donate $25 or $50 or $100 a month, and (we) give them a plaque and window cling showing that they support our organization. We, in turn, try to help promote them, so this is sort of a win-win situation.”

Any businesses interested in contributing can contact Vets Returning Home at (586) 216-8510.

Advertisement