Construction Rental Company Calling Attention to Veterans’ Needs

What’s red, white and blue and builds houses? Any equipment rented from a company based in Shippensburg, Pa.

Volvo Rents, a small business construction rental company, says that by painting its construction rental equipment in the patriotic colors, it hopes to raise awareness and money for veterans-- while doing business. Volvo Rents has been working with The Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides scholarships to families of wounded veterans, as well as Homes for Our Troops, which builds adapted homes for wounded vets.

Matt Tavianini, vice president of sales and marketing at Volvo Rents, said the company has been involved with local philanthropic efforts since the early 2000s, however, after shifting to new ownership under Volvo, the company underwent dramatic transformations—growing to more than 2,000 employees and more than 120 locations. And, as a result, the helping hand now has a wider reach.

“Our growth nationally in the past two years has given us a greater ability to help,” he said.

According to Tavianini, the eye-catching campaign is growing fast, with more than $80,000 raised for Folds of Honor in 2011, and nearly 20 new homes built for veterans along with Homes for Our Troops this year.

“We’ve done other pieces for breast cancer awareness and autism, but focused on [veterans] the past two years,” Tavianini said. “It’s just eye catching when the equipment is all painted up.”

And seeing as the construction industry was so hard hit during the recession, Volvo Rents’ ability to raise so much so quickly is a testament to its customers, he said.

“It’s really amazing,” Tavianinisaid. “We are seeing a bit of an uptick in construction activity, but it’s great to see how these guys are still so willing to give back to a patriotic cause. This has been a fantastic endeavor for us.”

Major Ed Pulido of The Folds of Honor Foundation said his organization has been working with Volvo Rents for the past two-and-a-half years, and the partnership raised more than $50,000 in the first year alone. Pulido estimates that in-kind contributions have exceeded $100,000, due to advertising and volunteering from Volvo Rents.

Folds of Honor has helped more than 2,700 families, and 500 of them were aided directly via Volvo’s contributions.

“They’ve gotten people to commit to raising awareness, to make sure we are taking care of our family members,” he said.

Pulido’s own two daughters have been recipients of Folds of Honor scholarships for the past five years.

“I came to work with Folds after being hit by an IED in Iraq in 2004,” Pulido said. “I lost a left leg and had combat wounds to the left side of my body, and ultimately a traumatic brain injury. It was a tragic day for me, but my two little girls are now Folds of Honor scholarship recipients.”

Sergeant Major Kenneth Preston said on average, Homes for Our Troops builds about 30 new homes annually for wounded veterans, and Volvo Rents has signed on with the organization through 2013. They have provided all heavy equipment support including power generators, forklifts, cranes and more for the building, Preston said.

“This Red, White and Blue Campaign, donates 20% of proceeds for all rentals on those pieces of equipment,” he said. “They’ve been wonderful to work with.”

As for the partnership Volvo Rents has with both organizations, Folds of Honor’s Pulido said the bond is solidified.

“We want to be there through the long haul,” he said. “They’ve made a commitment to mobilize and support our military heroes.”