Saturday August 28th, 2010 will forever be a day that many will remember, and none less than Kade and Becky Hinkhouse who received the keys to their new home. The home, sponsored by Homes for Our Troops, has been primarily built via donations of materials and skills from a variety of people and companies from around the Denver area and beyond.
The Key Ceremony began at 10:30am at the Elizabeth Fire House with a parade that included Elizabeth Fire, Elizabeth Police Department, The Elbert County Sheriff's Office and the Patriot Guard Riders. The parade arrived at the home just before 11am to find the Elizabeth High School Marching Band and a large group of people assembled for the ceremony. The band escorted LCpl Hinkhouse and his wife up the driveway which was lined with people holding flags. The VFW were present and the Color Guard presented the colors prior to the start of the ceremony. The Elizabeth High School band played the Marine Song and Katelyn Hauger, Becky Hinkhouse's sister sang the National Anthem. Brian Joyce, representing the Management Board of Homes for Our Troops opened the ceremony with a few words before handing the podium to to Aaron Lovelace who served as General Contractor for the building of the LEED AP certified home. After sharing thoughts with the nearly 200-strong crowd, Mr. Lovelace was presented with a commemorative plaque by Brian Joyce as a thank you on behalf of the Massachusetts-based charity.
Sandy Gomke of the Blue Star Mothers Denver Chapter presented the LanceCorporal with a "Quilts of Valor" quilt made especially for him. Tracy Keil, whose husband Matt Keil also received a Homes for Our Troops home, triggered the quilt being made. The Blue Star Mothers organization is a 501(c)(3) charity whose members have or have had children serving honorably in the military. A similar organization the Gold Star Mothers exists for Mothers of children who have died in service of their country.
LCpl Kade Hinkhouse began his speech to the assembled crowd with an apology. The LanceCorporal had many to thank he said, and so he did. A key theme to his message was thank you to the volunteers who had donated their time, materials and skills to build the beautiful home he now stood in front of. Many major volunteers and donators were singled out including the General Contractor for the project, Aaron Lovelace and Douglass Colony who donated the roof, materials and labor related to the installation of the solar panels.
Also included in the list were Hogy Excavation, Ed Lovelace, Daniel Electric (from Kade's hometown of Burlington CO), Pine Valley Electric as well as the agencies and Patriot Guard Riders who provided the escort for the day and the Warrior Brotherhood MC.
Brian Joyce concluded the ceremony and the crowd was invited to view the interior and exterior of the home and enjoy cake and refreshments provided by the Blue Star Mothers Denver Chapter.
The volunteers present at the ceremony were also invited to pick up personal "Thank You's" from Kade and Becky Hinkhouse consisting of photo-memory books as well as framed prints.
An estimated 500 people had a hand in building the home, which is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles and is estimated to have close to net zero energy consumption.
A complete gallery of images of the ceremony can be found here.