A Lift for a Vet, a nonprofit program originating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has taken off across the country. A collaborative effort between the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and IUEC Local 5 in Philadelphia, A Lift for a Vet has helped hundreds of veterans nationwide to date.
The program’s model is a fairly straightforward one, as the union and its members purchase forms of vertical transportation – from elevators and home lifts to stair lifts and wheelchair lifts – and install them in the residences of disabled veterans. What’s more, there is never a cost to the veterans. IUEC local unions help to generate funding for the program, as signatory companies – including, in recent months, Quality Elevator, Elevator Control Services (ELCON), and Schindler Elevator Company – donate equipment to the cause. Then, elevator union (IUEC) members donate their time, skills, and knowledge to ensure each installation is a success.
A disabled Air Force veteran hurt during his last year of service, Mike Walsh joined fellow IUEC Local 5-member Ed Loomis to launch A Lift for a Vet. Their vast experience in the elevator industry helped to provide a comprehensive understanding of what it would take for the program to provide meaningful assistance to our nation’s veterans.
“Our mission has always been to help disabled veterans any way we can,” said Walsh. “This is very personal. I know the name of nearly every veteran we’ve helped. This program has changed my life – it’s impacted the lives of every union member who has volunteered his or her time to help these heroes stay in their homes. At the end of the day, we’re helping these veterans maintain a sense of independence. Providing these lifts is our members’ way of giving back – it’s our way of expressing our appreciation for all these men and women have done for our nation.”
A Lift for a Vet allows elevator constructors to volunteer both their time and unique skillset to ensuring veterans have access to the vertical transportation systems best suited to their needs. The nonprofit relies solely on donations, including funds from an annual Local 5 golf outing, to fund its efforts. Furthermore, there are no operating costs – meaning every dollar donated goes directly to helping disabled veterans.
“Every veteran has a story. Helping these veterans is what motivates us to keep going forward with A Lift for a Vet. We never want to have to say ‘no,’” said Walsh. “In fact, we want the entire country to know about us. We want veterans from all eras to know that our program is here to help any way we can.”
The purchase, installation, and maintenance of any system supplied via A Lift for a Vet is free of charge to the veterans. All donations to A Lift for a Vet are tax deductible.
“Your generosity – no matter the amount – will help A Lift for a Vet’s goal of providing the best lives possible for disabled veterans,” said Walsh. “Former members of the Armed Forces of the United States deserve our utmost respect and eternal gratitude, but perhaps even more importantly, fulfilling the physical needs of these men and women must be our priority – that’s critical.”
Learn more about donating here: http://iuec5.org/lift_for_a_vet.aspx