The Utah Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors has raised more than $16,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) through donations by members and non-members alike. Donations where raised through an ABC Utah-specific WWP website created by chapter staff.
“The convenience of making an online contribution directly to WWP allowed us to accept donations from non-members that resulted in an overwhelming response from our community to support our wounded soldiers,” said Chris Hipwell, ABC Utah chapter president.
The community service project was launched in early November through a Facebook social media campaign and ran through December.
Member companies were prompted to assign a point person within their workplace who could champion the project among employees. A few member companies, like Mountain States Fence Co., matched employee donations.
In addition, the chapter’s Emerging Leaders group set its own contribution goal of $2,000. The group exceeded the donation objective by selling WWP bracelets, with proceeds going towards the goal.
Marc Nicholas kicked off the campaign when he donated his entire $2,000 speaking fee back to ABC’s WWP at the chapter’s annual Leadership Conference in early November. Nicholas was the keynote presenter for the conference. With a daughter who served in the military and having watched the struggles she experienced as a veteran returning home, Nicholas was passionate about the service project and backed the chapter’s initiative by raising nearly $4,000 on his own.
The service project was concluded at the chapter’s annual Christmas Party. With more than 300 in attendance, WWP alum SFC U.S. Army Veteran (Ret.) Travis Vendela told the audience about his experience in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb struck his Hummer while on patrol. Vendela lost both legs and suffered many other injuries during the explosion.
Vendela learned to accept his injuries and understand that everything happens for a reason. He met his wife while going through rehabilitation and credits her with saving his life.
“The needs of our wounded veterans is so great that our ability to raise funds for them seems small compared to what they have sacrificed so that we are able to live the American life,” said Utah’s Chairman, Ron Hadley, Staker Parson Cos. “Our ABC community was proud to support this very important program.”
In addition to the WWP donation, the chapter also donated $1,000 directly to Vendela and his family.