Operating Engineers 324, Jared Allen’s Homes For Wounded Warriors & partners build home for wounded Michigan veteran
Mortgage-free home helps veteran who lost left leg more easily perform daily tasks
HARRISVILLE, Michigan – Operating Engineers 324 and its partners are giving back to our nation’s heroes – most recently by volunteering to build a home for a Michigan veteran who lost a leg while serving in Iraq. Army Spec. Bobby Body’s new barrier-free home in Harrisville features accessible amenities so he can perform everyday tasks easily and conveniently.
“Being able to volunteer our time and efforts to help this project and thank our veterans and Spec. Bobby Body and his family in particular means the world to us,” said OE324 Labor Management Executive Director Lee Graham. “We were joined by many OE324 members, from apprentices to retirees and several service veterans themselves, as well as some amazing signatory contractor partners, to accomplish what we are here to celebrate: this great new house for Spec. Body.”
“Operating Engineers are incredibly proud to lend our services to better our communities and give back,” OE324 Business Manager Douglas W. Stockwell said. “It is of the greatest importance – to our members, our leadership, our instructors, and our signatory contractors. And there is no more important thing we can do than find a way to give back and thank our service veterans – those who have made sacrifices to provide and protect the very lives, families, and work that we love.”
With his wife Erin and children, Body – who is also a record-setting powerlifter – now lives in a mortgage-free home on the Lake Huron coast, which features barrier-free features. The Body family selected the location in Harrisville and assisted with its design. Originally started in 2019, the house was finished in June this year after overcoming multiple obstacles and delays, including the death of its original architect, the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the slowdown of supply chains that affected the availability of materials.
“I don’t really have the words for how grateful we are,” Body said at the key ceremony outside his family’s new home on June 29. “I salute all of you guys that put in the time and effort into this, and we’re going to enjoy it.”
Body was wounded in 2006 and endured 18 surgeries on his left leg, which ultimately had to be amputated above the knee. He previously lived in a house with dangerous obstacles and barriers. As part of his treatment, Body began exercising in the gym and found his new calling on the powerlifting platform, earning five national and three world records. He is currently a member of the U.S Paralympic National Team and ranked No. 5 in the world. He will be representing Team USA at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Body is a certified peer support specialist, counseling other veterans and amputees with post-traumatic stress disorder to help them overcome their obstacles.
In addition to Operating Engineers 324 volunteered time and effort, joined by several contractor partners: Alta Equipment, Cross Concrete, Great Lakes Timber Professional Association, M&M Excavating, McNally-Nimergood Crane, Miron Forest Products, MJ Vandamme Trucking, Michigan CAT, and Solid Rock Excavating. The project was joined by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, and worked on and overseen by construction manager Spence Bros. The home is a project of Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, a non-profit organization that raises funds to build or modify homes for injured military veterans. Started by NFL star Jared Allen, JAH4WW has completed 22 homes as of July.