Sale of San Luis Home Provides Funds for Veterans
SAN LUIS, Ariz. – A fund set up to benefit military veterans around Yuma County has taken in more than $100,000, thanks to the efforts and generosity of a group of builders from around the area.
Ron Martin, a Yuma developer, and a group of about 30 contractors and subcontractors raised the money from the sale of a 1,200-square-foot home they recently completed in the Los Alamos subdivision on the city’s north side. And the builders, in turn, donated the money to the Yuma Veterans Fund, established earlier this year to provide grants to area organizations that provide services to area vets.
“This is a great day,” Martin said in a public ceremony Tuesday in San Luis as the sale proceeds were donated to fund and the keys to the four-bedroom home were turned over to the buyer.
“I am very thankful for the dedication of the contractors and workers” in the construction project, he said. “Building this house was a labor of love.”
Martin, the developer of the Los Alamos subdivision, donated the lot where the home is located, and area contractors and subcontractors donated labor and material for the construction project that began in March.
Martin said his and the other builders collaborated in the project as a way to honor and help young people from around the area who have served in the military and made sacrifices for their nation in time of war.
“This is something that is very big for south Yuma County and for the county in general,” Martin said. “We have lost many youth from the Hispanic community (in service to the nation), so I wanted this to be done here.”
Established by the Yuma Community Foundation, the fund provides grants to Yuma-area nonprofit organizations that offer services to area veterans that they would not otherwise receive through government-funded military benefits. For example, the grants could go to for transportation and lodging for veterans who must travel out of town to receive medical treatment, or for covering some of their household expenses.
Martin, whose father was killed while serving in Vietnam in 1969, said the help the government provides veterans is limited and in fact has been reduced in recent years due to the economy.
“We can’t turn our backs on those people who have kept the flag flying over our heads and who have allowed us to have the liberties that we enjoy,” Martin said. “The government turns its back on them more than it helps them, so we, the people, have to help to make things happen.”
The buyer of the home is Will Watson, a fifth-grade teacher in the Arizona Desert Elementary School in San Luis.
“I had been looking for a house in this area and I came by here,” he said. “I liked it a lot, and I got it at a good price. It makes me very happy that (the money from sale) is going to a good cause. The veterans protected us, and we have to take care of them.”
When he, his wife and and two children move into the house next month, he said, the first thing they will do is place an American flag on the roof, in recognition of veterans.
Janell Johnson, regional director of the Yuma Community Foundation, said the Yuma Veterans Fund has assisted about 18 veterans just since July, primarily by providing short-term loans to cover emergency expenses.
Gary Smith, a member of the foundation’s board of directors, said the donation by Martin and the other builders reflects a sense of generosity found throughout the Yuma area.
“Two years ago, an anonymous donor from Yuma matched the first $20,000 in the fund,” he said. “That tells me that we have people (in the community) with a tremendous spirit of generosity, and this is one more example of that.”
Among individuals and organizations that Martin singled out for praise for their efforts in the project were the Comite de Bien Estar, a San Luis nonprofit housing organization; San Luis City Hall, which waived building permit fees for the project, and the general contractor, Guillermina Fuentes and her company, A&F Home Builders.
Martin added that the builder will soon begin work on another home that will then be sold as a fundraiser to benefit the Yuma Community Food Bank.