Army Sgt. Tim “T.J.” Johannsen needed good people to rally behind him when he returned to the United States after his legs were amputated as the result of injuries sustained while serving in the Iraq War.

Douglass Colony Group of Greeley, Colo., partnered with Homes for Our Troops during a recent 3-Day Build Brigade. The first three photos show Army Sgt. Tim “T.J.” Johannsen, the crew posing in front of Sgt. Johannsen’s home, and volunteers hard at work on the project.  

Army Sgt. Tim “T.J.” Johannsen needed good people to rally behind him when he returned to the United States after his legs were amputated as the result of injuries sustained while serving in the Iraq War.

And help for Sgt. Johannsen came from the roofing industry.

“To have people who don’t know me and people I have never met, come out and volunteer their time and money to help my family and to support our military means the world to me,” Sgt. Johannsen said. “It means that the terrorists of 9-11 failed because they will never dampen the spirit of the American patriot. I am so thankful for these people because they are the reason we serve and to have their support means everything. Thank you.”

Those who stepped up for a war hero in need started with the Douglass Colony Group in Colorado and Homes for our Troops, a national nonprofit organization that provides homes at no cost to severely injured and disabled veterans returning home from war.

The 3-Day Build Brigade took place Dec. 10-12, 2010, in Elizabeth, Colo. Homes for our Troops built the house for Sgt. Johannsen with the help of general contractor Mark Cucarola of Platinum Homes.

Sgt. Johannsen’s story is extraordinary, said Christy Maraone of Douglass Colony.

“Army Sgt. Tim Johannsen was on his second deployment to Iraq in June 2007 when he was left a double amputee after an IED exploded through the floorboard of the vehicle he was driving in,” said Christy Maraone, Marketing Director for Douglass Colony Group. “Sgt. Johannsen suffered immediate amputation of both legs, his right leg below the knee and his left leg above the knee. Immediate reaction by the medic and medivac team saved Sgt. Johannsen’s life.”

Once stabilized, Sgt. Johannsen was airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany and later transported to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he remained for 21/2 years, Maraone said.

Douglass Colony Group donated all labor hours and at no cost during the 3-Day Build Brigade. Shingles were donated by CertainTeed.

“Douglass Colony installed the shingle roof and a rooftop solar system,” Maraone said. “The project was certified as LEED Gold and fully handicap-accessible.”

Douglass Colony Group also assisted with the home build for Lance Cpl. Kade Hinkhouse in May 2010. While serving in Iraq, Lance Cpl. Hinkhouse sustained tremendous injuries resulting in 45 percent removal of his skull and the amputation of one of his legs. After a year and a half of rehabilitation, he is back in Colorado to be closer to family and start a family of his own.

“Douglass Colony Group wanted to take part in welcoming home this hero and many others,” Maraone said. “We provide free equipment, materials and labor for all HFOT projects.”

The next three photos show a crane lifting framing into place, Lance Cpl. Kade Hinkhouse and wife Becky, and the finished home for Sgt. Johannsen.

Supporting Homes for Our Troops

Douglass Colony Group supports each Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) project in a variety of ways. From the very initial planning stages, the company helps to spread the word of the build brigade through various media outlets, rally volunteers, and solicit material/equipment donations.

“Michael Cohig contacted our preferred manufacturers and solicited donated materials,” she said. “Jeff Martin and Brian Favier assisted with the planning and execution of the solar installation, and Rodney Ayala coordinated the manpower.”

Many others volunteered their time, as it is optional, the day of the event without collecting any earnings in return.

“The service crews for the roof and solar installs, as well as the crane operator, are paid completely out of Douglass Colony’s pocket,” Maraone said. “(Company president) Robert Bechtholdt is often on site supporting the crews and the veterans, and Tim Wulf, Douglass Colony’s Safety Director, is often monitoring the safety and performance of our crews on the site.”

“Douglass Colony Group is proud to take part in the 3-Day Build Brigade for such an extraordinary, young man who served our country so bravely and honorably,” said Bechtholdt, Douglass Colony’s President. “Sgt. Johannsen and all the veterans we help through the Homes for our Troops organization are very deserving of these terrific LEED certified, handicap-accessible homes. After all they’ve given, this is certainly the least we can do.”

Bechtholdt said the partnership with Homes for our Troops has been a success and something they value.

“Supporting their mission to provide homes at no cost to severely injured veterans is commendable and we are happy to support their efforts,” he said.

The General Contractor

Mark Cucarola of Platinum Homes LLC was the General Contractor for the 3-Day Build Brigade for Sgt. Johannsen.

“We were approached by the Homes for Our Troops Organization several months ago and we determined that it was for a great cause and for a very well deserving Veteran,” Cucarola said. “It’s a way for us to give back to war heroes that have given so much to their country.”

Cucarola said the LEED Gold certified project was the company’s first opportunity to complete such a build.

“It provides a great learning experience into building energy efficient housing and using all the latest systems of geo-thermal heating and cooling, solar PV and advanced framing techniques for highly efficient thermal building envelopes,” Cucarola said. “For several years now, Platinum Homes has been focusing its business on designing and constructing highly energy efficient homes.”

Cucarola had high praise for the volunteers and contributing companies. “While it’s not about the monetary amount, it’s incredible to see a caring community donate so much time, money, and effort to build a state-of-the-art home for Sgt. Johannsen,” he said. “The house is fully handicap-accessible and will be certified as LEED Gold. The roof mount crystalline solar system will offset approximately 40 percent to 50 percent of the home’s electricity usage.”

Donations Pave the Way

All materials and supplies for the 3-Day Build Brigade were either donated outright or offered at a highly discounted rate.

The following is a list of companies and their 100 percent contributions:

• Douglass Colony Group - Roofing labor and material, solar labor, equipment (crane)

• CertainTeed - Shingles

• Roofing Supply Group - stocking and roofing accessories

• La Farge - Concrete

• Hogy Excavation - Earth work

• Enno Construction - Concrete flatwork labor

• Greiner Electric - Electrical rough and finish

• Mike McBeth Plumbing - Plumbing labor

• Lake Construction - Framing labor

• Archer Construction - Siding Labor

• Amerimax Window Company - Windows

• Kellogg Contracting - Septic system installation

• Mikes Garage Doors - Garage doors and installation

• Castle Rock Winnelson - Plumbing supplies and rough-out

The following is a list of partial donations:

• Penley Concrete - Foundation forming and construction

• Pro-Build - Framing lumber and trusses, siding, exterior trim

• Allied Insulation-MASCO Companies - Insulation

• RT Trash Services

• Parker Portable Toilets

• Timberline Supply - Septic system materials

Maraone said Douglass Colony Group worked with a variety of manufacturers for all divisions.

“When these home builds occur, we first ask our preferred vendors to see if they’d be interested in donating materials for the build,” she said, noting that CertainTeed “stepped up to the plate.”

“All LEED-certified shingles were 100 percent donated and just shipment costs had to be covered,” Maraone said. “Solar is more difficult to obtain a full donation, but Solar Solutions and Distribution assisted us in acquiring solar panels at a discounted rate.”

Volunteers left well wishes for Sgt. Johannsen on the Homes for Our Troops sign at the jobsite. 

About Douglass Colony

Since it was founded in 1947, Douglass Colony Group has been servicing the Rocky Mountain region with quality products, expert craftsmanship, and friendly service that can’t be beat, Maraone said.

Growing from a single office location in Greeley, Colo., the company has expanded to four offices in Colorado to become the largest commercial roofing contractor in Colorado.

“Douglass Colony continues to stay on the forefront of evolving technology by employing multiple LEED certified representatives and offering new and innovative products to assist with LEED certifications such as sunscreens, garden roofs, reflective roofing materials, and solar applications,” Maraone said. “Douglass Colony maintains the largest service/maintenance department in Colorado and can assist you with leak repairs 24/7 any day of the week. As an Authorized Installer and Approved Applicator, we work with the manufacturers to maintain the integrity of your roof without voiding any existing roofing warranty.”

Notable projects include: Denver International Airport, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Justice/Detention Centers, University of Colorado ay Boulder, University of Colorado at Denver, CH2Mhill, Sun Microsystems, The Wildlife Experience, EPA Building, Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, Level 3 Communications, Avaya, Ameristar Casino, ReMax Headquarters, and Hyatt Convention Center/Hotel.