Tony Filippis, Sr., founder of Wright & Filippis, was a double-amputee at the young age of 13 who dedicated his life to helping others with disabilities live their lives to the fullest. During World War II, Tony Sr. enlisted in the army but was turned away because of his disability. He was very disappointed but still wanted to serve his country, so he offered the idea of a position in which he could make prosthetic limbs for the returning injured veterans. Once again, the army rejected his plea.
Tony Sr. had a passion for helping others, and that passion is still brought forth today. Three generations of Filippis' later, Tony III shares the same passion for helping the disabled as his grandfather did. Staying true to the roots from which Wright & Filippis was born, Tony III saw a tremendous opportunity to continue his grandfather's passion of helping disabled veterans in a new non-profit program, Homes for Our Troops.
For many of the service men and women who have returned home from war, their homes are no longer places of security and comfort. Instead, they are only mere living-quarters of rooms filled with barriers that make even the simplest tasks difficult, if not impossible. Homes for Our Troops builds specially adapted homes so these heroes can regain their independence and help them rebuild their lives.
Founded in 2004, Homes for Our Troops has already made an incredible impact on more than 40 service men and women's lives by providing them, at no-cost, barrier-free homes. The charity continues to grow and has more than 30 homes throughout the country in various states of construction. When beginning a home site, Homes for Our Troops hosts what they call a three-day "Build Brigade," which enables the whole process to come to completion in record time.
"To have this house completed from start to finish in a mere eight weeks is absolutely awe-inspiring," said Vittorio Palomba of the Lifts, Elevators & Ramps Department at Wright & Filippis. "It takes an incredible amount of support and generosity to accomplish such a task. The build could not have been completed in this time without the incredible patriotism of volunteers."
U.S. Army Spc. Alex Knapp served in Iraq for the 230th MilitaryPolice Company where he lost both of his legs below the knee in March of last year when an explosion device struck the vehicle he was riding in. He spent 19 months at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. recovering and rehabilitating. During that time, Alex's mother wrote to Homes for Our Troops asking what they could do for her young,
The organization jumped on the opportunity and within months was designing blueprints for a barrier-free home with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, lower countertops and a lift system to the basement of the ranch-style home.
Wright & Filippis was inspired by the story and is honored to be able to provide a residential elevator and grab bars for Alex's home.
"The sacrifices that Wright & Filippis made to supply an elevator for this home do not even begin to compare with the sacrifices that Alex made and so many others like Alex continue to make for our safety every day," said Tony Filippis, III.
For more information on Homes for Our Troops or to learn how you can help support this incredible cause, visit their website at www.HomesForOurTroops.org.