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Quality housing for veterans in Frankford

Vaughan Buckley, John Jones, Mark Rayfield, Dana Spain and Joan Spain celebrate the ribbon cutting.
John Jones speaks, with Vaughan Buckley in the background.
From left: Mark Rayfield, John Jones, Vaughan Buckley, Joan Spain, Dana Spain.

The nonprofit VBC Giving Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Volumetric Building Companies, on Monday afternoon cut the ribbon on the Bernard Spain Campus of the organization’s Veterans Village, in Frankford.

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The foundation’s principle is that respectable, safe, quality housing is imperative for everyone, including veterans.

The $6 million, 47-unit new construction permanent housing community is located at 5127 Duffield St. and will serve as a template for future modular housing projects.

“I can house my brothers and sisters across the nation,” said John Jones, a retired Marine staff sergeant who is director of the VBC Giving Foundation.

Dana Spain is president of the all-volunteer board of the VBC Giving Foundation. Her late dad, Bernard, was a U.S. Army captain. Spain and her mom, Joan, were at the grand opening. It was the Joan and Bernard Spain Family Foundation that made a significant donation to get the project started.

Joan and Dana Spain were joined by Mark Rayfield, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain North America, a manufacturing company and big donor for the project; and Vaughan Buckley, CEO of VBC.

Through the Saint-Gobain North America Foundation and its building materials subsidiary CertainTeed, the company contributed more than $175,000 in siding and insulation products and monetary donations. Employees also provided their support, solutions and expertise to the Veterans Village project.

The four-story building features studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The property is fenced, and there is a large mural on the side of the building that includes the Statue of Liberty and the logos of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard,

The project was a decade in the making, as the building sits on a former lot that VBS used to store materials.

In addition to the donations from the Spain and Saint-Gobain foundations, the project relied on the donations of logistics and materials and checks written by attorneys and accountants.

Collie Turner, a VBC employee and founder of Heroic Gardens, said the service organization installed trees and a rain garden and has plans for vegetable gardens.

As planners said, it took a village to build Veterans Village.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Dana Spain said.

Jones, injured in Iraq in 2005, described Veterans Village as a “light” and a “beacon” for the community.

“I’m honored to be a part of it,” he said.

First-floor residents are scheduled to move in this week. The rest of the residents will move in on May 12, once the elevator is operational. ••

For more information, call 267-876-3600 or visit veteransvillagecrm.com or vbcgivingfoundation.org.

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