If you’ve been to the Wood Flooring Expo in the past couple of years, you’ve heard a lot about members of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) helping out wounded military veterans. Those projects are done through the Gary Sinise Foundation’s RISE program.
But, if you’ve been to Expo, you’ve also heard about many individual NWFA members who use their wood flooring skills to make a difference for their local veterans and overall communities.
We recently had a chance to see the volunteer work of one our customers, Brad Bartet of Southern Hardwood Flooring in the Woodland Park, Colorado, area.
A Tangible ‘Thank You’
Brad sanded and refinished an oak parquet floor that was installed in 1935 in what is now known as the Veterans Hall in Woodland Park. Palo Duro Hardwoods played a tiny part by donating MAPEI finish and Lägler sand paper. The skills, time and sweat were Brad’s.
“It was important for me to donate my time on this project,” Brad says, “because it allowed me to thank a bunch of veterans in my community through an action. It’s a tangible ‘Thank you for your service,’ that can be seen, used, and appreciated by these guys as well as future members of their posts.”
Brad’s work refreshed the 81-year-old floor that originally was part of the meeting hall for local ranchers and farmers who were members of the Manitou Park Grange. It has been a place for social events over the years, housing church services, community theater and other get-togethers. It also served as a staging area for emergency crews during Colorado’s largest forest fire. The Hayman Fire burned for nearly a month in 2002, destroying 133 homes and consuming more than 138,000 acres of forest.
Refinishing the Future for Local Veterans
Fifteen years ago, the building became the Veterans Hall, shared by the Thomas E. Kelly Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6051 and Eric V. Dickson American Legion Post 1980. Brad’s sanding and refinishing work, along with a larger renovation project supported by The Home Depot, are helping to brighten future opportunities for the VFW and American Legion members.
“Our goal is to get more local active duty, reserve and national guard members, retirees and veterans of all branches of service involved in both veterans’ organizations, and to further our assistance to them,” says Andy Tyler, VFW Post Commander.
Andy is a nearly 30-year U.S. Army veteran, including serving in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and tours in Bosnia, Kosovo, and other locations. Most recently, he served four tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Brad’s and Palo Duro Hardwoods’ contributions to the renovation of the hall is very much appreciated,” Andy says. “Brad's hard work in cleaning and refinishing over 80 years of damage brought out the beauty of the hand-laid flooring. The floor by itself is a significant piece of local history showing the craftsmanship of the local residents. Brad's diligence and recommendations on the care of the flooring will ensure that it will hold up for many years to come.”