STX 2022: Two Veterans Gifted Homes by Advance Auto Parts, Building Homes for Heroes

March 29, 2022

Retired Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale, who lost his sight in Afghanistan, keynoted the speech and introduces the recipient military families. 

March 29, 2022—Advance Auto Parts and Building Homes for Heroes, a national nonprofit (501)(c)(3) organization, announced at Worldpac STX that it would provide two homes to military veterans and their families.

In a speech leading up to the event, former EOD technician and retired Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale, who lost his sight when an unseen IED exploded in his face in Afghanistan, lauded the job the program did to help not only his family, but veterans everywhere.

“Those four walls and a roof are not just a shelter, but a higher order of human personal needs,” he said, before a packed ballroom.

Hale, who received his home nine years ago, said that veterans in need and their families crave both certainty and uncertainty, a need for purpose and significance, and a connection to continue to serve others. He applauded Advance and Building Homes for Heroes for ensuring the most important certainty needed by veterans. Building Homes for Heroes has gifted nearly 300 homes to injured veterans.

“Each veteran or Gold Star family has certainty that they won’t have a mortgage to pay,” he said. “Is there any better way to tell that service member that their sacrifice was valiant than to provide them with this home?”

For Hale, the home has given him the freedom to live a meaningful life without concern as he raises an 11-year-old son and identical twin boys with his wife.

“I’m a veteran. I’m a father, son, brother. I owe my life to these people. From this home—this Home for Heroes gift—I have a business,” he said. "My purpose is to be the best blind person I can be for those people, my wife and kids."

Hale, who runs a chocolate company, invests in real estate with his wife, and hosts a cooking show called “Cooking without Looking,” concluded by thanking Advance for its efforts.

“I appreciate everything Advance Auto Parts has done for my nuclear family and my military family,” he said.

Advance Auto Parts and Building Homes for Heroes presented two homes following the speech. 

“Our longstanding partnership with Advance Auto Parts continues to build better and brighter lives for so many of our nation’s heroes. Tonight, we added two more,” said Andy Pujol, founder and CEO of Building Homes for Heroes.

The first, in Lakeland, Florida, to retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant, Rahmeka Hopkins who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer attributed to chemical exposure that has confined her to a wheelchair, and the second to U.S. Marine Corps Corporal, Helbert Asprilla who after serving two combat tours in Kosovo and Iraq was left him with severe PTSD as well as bilateral tremors and tinnitus. His home is in Oakland Park, Florida.

“At Advance, we know how important it is that we show our gratitude for our military heroes,” said Bob Cushing, executive vice president, professional, Advance Auto Parts. “In addition to employing thousands of military veterans throughout our company, our longstanding support of Building Homes for Heroes and heroes like retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Rahmeka Hopkins and retired U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Helbert Asprilla is one of the many ways we give back to those who have done so much for all of us.”

About the Author

Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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