Giving Back to Veterans

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November 29, 2012

In honor of Veteran’s Day, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) solarized the homes of Tyrone and Jerome Saxton, twin brothers and retired U.S. Army Reservists, on November 9th 2012 in Jurupa Valley, CA. A special ceremony was held for the Saxton brothers and our veteran volunteers, which included a Presentation of Colors by Members of the American Legion Riverside Post 79. GRID IE was joined by local dignitaries for this occasion: City of Jurupa Valley’s Mayor Laura Roughton, Wells Fargo's Inland Empire Area President Celia Lanning, and Habitat for Humanity Riverside's Executive Director Karin Roberts.

Tyrone and Jerome Saxton’s beautiful homes were built last year by Habitat for Humanity Riverside (HFH) for which Wells Fargo and Thrivent Builds Lutheran Church generously provided funding. "HFH was looking for two veterans to build homes for and it just so happens that Jerome and I are veterans and twin brothers", laughed Tyrone as he recalled how it began one year ago.

With the help of an enthusiastic group of Wells Fargo volunteers and Thrivent Builds Lutheran Church volunteers, we installed a 2.1 kW solar electric system on each of the Saxton brother’s roof tops. The dynamic Veteran’s Day Installation team included four veterans: Rick Stephens from Thrivent Builds (Air Force Reserves), and GRID IE’s Team Leaders Kevin Muhammad (Army) and Trini Shrinarine (Air Force), as well as Solar Installation Supervisor Greg Graham (Marine Corps). Volunteers were thrilled to get on the roof and install solar for veterans. "It’s a great opportunity to help somebody, especially our veterans. I truly feel that we don’t give enough to be able to help them. It’s an amazing feeling!" shared a volunteer from Wells Fargo.

Mayor Roughton presented Certificates of Recognition to GRID IE, HFH Riverside, Wells Fargo and Thrivent Builds for helping to build and solarize the Saxtons’ homes. She commended each organization for providing "a unique opportunity for low-income families in (the) community to realize the benefits of green technology, which will have a lasting and positive impact on the City of Jurupa Valley."

Tyrone expressed that he is very grateful to everyone who took the time to install solar on his roof and he is anxious to see how solar will affect him and his family. "I am happy that I’m going to be saving a lot of money from solar energy. That’s the most important part because it is money that I can pour back into my family, which is truly a blessing." The solar electric systems installed on Tyrone and Jerome Saxton’s homes are expected to bring the families a combined savings of over $40,000. These will eliminate over 126 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere over the lifetime of the systems, equivalent to planting 3,000 trees.

We’d love to see more Vets helping Vets in the Inland Empire. Please contact us if you’re interested in being part of this initiative!

infoie@gridalternatives.org or 951-272-4743

By Judy Ramos, Development and Marketing Intern, Posted 29 November 2012