Wounded Warriors of Collier County 

“Charlie House”

Author: Joseph Gross
Project Manager

Do you fly an American flag on your house or in your yard? I do, and so do most Veterans and Wounded Warriors. They fly the flag because it is a constant reminder of what they fought and are still fighting for. They are proud of our country, and they are proud of the sacrifices they have made in mind and body to protect our freedoms and the American way of life. When you become a member of the Armed Services, you take an Oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. This oath does not end when you leave the service…

I was asked to lead the renovation of the third Wounded

Warriors of Collier County homeless Veteran home “Charlie House.”

I am extremely passionate about helping Wounded Veterans as my own wife is a 100% disabled veteran who served in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and was injured while serving our country. The majority of the people in my family have served our country, in fact, my own mother worked in the Pentagon during World War Two, and my father served in Korea. I also have a Cousin, Bill, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam war and was wounded by a Mortar attack and who is currently fighting off cancer because of exposure to Agent Orange.

I have witnessed firsthand the pain and suffering our Great American heroes experience as a result of serving our nation. I have personally felt the heartache of seeing someone you love in constant pain and being physically limited in what they can now do because of service-related injuries. Americans need to realize that these Wounded Heros are still serving America, and they will continue to serve as long as they live… These wounds, both physically and emotionally, will never go away…

What really surprised me is the fact that these American Heros are not bitter. I have never seen one of them complain or say that they regret being in the Military or serving our country. In fact, my wife says she would do it all again in an instant. The other wounded vets I meet at the VA hospital in Cape Coral and at Bay Pines VA Center near Tampa, all say the same thing… They would do it all again!

Americans must never forget the sacrifices these heroes have made, and it is our duty to protect and care for these Veterans. Charlie House will do just that. It will provide a home for three homeless veterans and help them get back on their feet.

When I first got involved in the Charlie House project, I met with the owner of the home (who is leasing it to Wounded Warriors of Collier County at a very reasonable rate). We discussed the scope of work to be done and what the budget was going to be to renovate an early 70’s tired but sound house. I shared with the owner of the property that I felt I would be able to get some items either donated or discounted to help offset the cost of the renovation.

As I put the renovation project together, I started to reach out to our PBS trade Partners to explain what we were doing and that because it was for homeless veterans, it was special to me. Crowther Roofing was one of the first companies I called, and I talked to my friend John Lopez who is Crowther’s Senior Surveyor, and he put together a proposal for me where Crowther would only charge us for the cost of Materials to install a completely new roof. I also reached out to Shorty at JCP plumbing, who Installed a new Water heater and did some miscellaneous other plumbing repairs for only the cost of materials… all labor was donated.

I spoke to Bill at One Source Electric, and he was willing to help the Vets as well, only charging for materials. They donated all their labor to this project. Joe Nemeth from Nemeth Air did the same thing; he gave us a tremendous discount on our Air Conditioning Repairs.

Casey Pacetti, President of Overhead Door Company of Naples, was thrilled to be part of this project, and his company donated an entire New Garage Door and Garage Door Opener system to the Veterans at zero cost! Dean Smart of SmartPaint Naples did the Painting, inside and out for a reduced fee. Advanced Seamless Gutters installed new gutters and downspouts for only the cost of materials.

I called my friend Mike Sullivan of Viking Construction, and he donated all the labor to do siding and trim repairs on the outside of the house. I called my friend Lisa at Remove it Pros, and she arranged the removal of an old wooden deck on the back of the house for a very discounted rate.

I called my friends at Superior Interlocking Pavers and told them I needed a new paver patio installed for the veterans, they donated the materials, and their crew donated their own time and labor to come in on a Saturday and install the pavers at zero cost! PBS summer intern Jay Azocar did a lot of the tedious small interior repairs. PBS Field Manager Guido Fernandez unloaded a huge pallet of Hardie board material for the outside repairs to the house.

Former PBS Field Manager and now PBS Project Manager Luke Pfeiffer was really the rock star on this project. Luke installed the bulk of the windows, did most of the bump-out area repairs, installed new flooring, found out the reason for the bad odor in the kitchen pantry, and fixed it. Luke did countless small repairs on the project and was also the Field manager on the project, all while continuing to run his other projects.

PBS Senior Field Manager Tommy Cox picked up and delivered countless Windows and other materials to the project. Tommy also donated his own time on a Saturday to supervise the Paver Installation. PBS Senior Field Manager Chris Thrushman did drywall repairs in several rooms of the house. I asked my friend Ramon at Coastal Window Services if his crew could finish installing several special-order windows, and he sent out a professional crew who made quick work of installing the final seven windows all in one day. He did the Install at a very discounted rate…

I am honored to know all these American Patriots and to call them my friends – when I called, they came, and they worked hard to make this project a reality!

When America called, the Hero Veterans came, and they served, and they sacrificed for all of us!

We now must be there for them!

Wounded Warriors of Collier County is doing just that!