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Fundraising Under Way to Help Soldier in Need

Forced to live in a backyard shack, a wheelchair-bound Army vet will have his vandalized home renovated thanks to AGC Charities.

Tue March 03, 2015 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Construction charity organization AGC Charities Inc. is partnering with San Juan-based Desarrollos Metropolitanos and other local firms to rebuild the home of a partially wheelchair-bound army veteran whose house was looted, forcing him to live in a backyard shack. As part of the charitable organization’s annual Operation Opening Doors effort, many construction firms are donating time, expertise and money to rebuild the home of Jose Quinonez.

“The least we can do is make sure this decorated combat veteran can enjoy some of the comforts of home many of us take for granted,” said Jim Clemens, chairman emeritus of Philadelphia, Pa.-based Clemens Construction Co. and the chairman of AGC Charities. “Our goal is to use our skills to make life a little easier for Mr. Quinonez.”

Quinonez served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades and saw combat with the Special Forces in Vietnam, Somalia and Iraq. Thieves looted his family home of all wiring, plumbing and key fixtures. Since his combat wounds have left him frequently wheelchair-bound since 1997, Quinonez has been unable to repair his home, and was forced to live in a shack behind his house.

The renovation project will include building a new wheelchair ramp, installing new windows, electrical wiring, plumbing, a handicap accessible kitchen and bathroom, widening all doorways to make them wheelchair accessible, adding air conditioning, repairing the leaking roof and re-plastering and repainting the inside and outside of his house. Once completed, the newly rebuilt house will provide this decorated combat veteran with the comfort and dignity he earned, Clemens noted.

“By volunteering for this project, we can chip in a little bit for what this soldier has done for us,” said Joe Vizcarrondo, president of Desarrollos Metropolitanos and a member of the national AGC Charities Board. “Nobody should have to fight for their country only to come home to an uninhabitable house.”

A number of Puerto Rico-based firms are volunteering to help with the project, Vizcarrondo said. Among those firms are architect Jose Rodriguez-Barcelo; Desarrollos Metropolitanos LLC; TecNew Contractors; RB Construction; DVG; Division 16; BLDM; Britto’s Plumbing; Aavanti Kitchens; Cordex Corp.; Carlos Vazquez Iron Works; SUSTECH; Vivaldi & Associates; Edwin Pagan; Angel Trujillo and Victor Pumping. The list of suppliers are ConcreTech; General Electric; HQJ; AOR; Valcor/Samcor; Ventor Corporation; Maderera Donestevez; ESSROC; TAM Industries; Marey Heater Corp.; Refricentro; Danosa; Sherwin-Williams; Master Products; the Home Depot and Steel & Pipes.

Clemens said the AGC Charities group is currently fundraising to support costs associated with renovating the soldier’s home. He noted that the charitable group was established seven years ago to channel and support the charitable efforts of the construction community. He added that the group held previous national Operation Opening Doors projects in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Orlando, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.

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