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Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans

by GRID Alternatives
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
Provide solar power and solar jobs to veterans
A SGT and his son have tremendous power
A SGT and his son have tremendous power

In 1996 while training special ops marines, Marine Sgt. David B. fell from a repelling tower rupturing 4 discs in his back. He gave his best in rehab and returned to active duty with the first marine division for 8 years of fast paced work resulting in severe degenerative disc disease with which he still struggles today. His treatment led to 3 failed operations and permanent rib damage up and down the left side of his body.

The prescribed medications for pain turned into addiction exacerbating his nightmares from PTSD. Sgt Brannon was walking one of life’s tight ropes and metaphorically fell again. This time losing his home and 18 year marriage.

Fast forward 3 and a half years he found himself in California trying to rebuild his life. He sought help for his addiction and today is 4 years clean and sober. His disability persists. He needs spinal epidural treatment for his injuries every three months at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

One day while there, he met another vet, Annne Marie and started talking with her about his struggles, including the loss of his housing but also his his philosophy that helps him get through it all. “If there is a challenge in life, it just means there is a victory waiting to happen.”

She asked if he ever heard of Habitat for Humanity. He perked up a bit, remembering he had seen the groundbreaking for a habitat development in Lakeside earlier. He said to himself, “ I’m going to get one,” though he was sure he didn’t qualify.

Anne Marie, turns out, is the manager of veteran services for Habitat for Humanity in San Diego.  She was looking for qualified veterans for those homes!. They worked together over the past year or so. For a stretch he heard nothing and thought it wouldn’t happen. He also learned that should he get selected for the home he’ll need more money for the down payment which he didn’t have. Amidst this all, the Seargeant's father, also a marine, passed away.

Staying strong, he worked with the San Diego Financial Literacy Center and was awarded the “Boost for Heroes” award which came with a prize for $3,000, enough for his down payment. Soon after, he got the call that he and his sons were selected to live in a newly constructed Habitat for Humanity home.

I met him outside his home on Veteran's Day as our crews worked in the background installing solar power on his and three other wounded veterans homes.

“I’m humbled and all I want to do now is enjoy my new home and my family and pay it forward, ” he told me. Challenges turn to victory.

Tremendous power can be had when we join our energy with that of others. This medically disabled staff sergeant (a 3rd generation “jarhead”) who served our country for 16 and a half years is living proof.

GRID Alternatives is humbled to be part of this power with our continued collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and many others. We’re proud to serve our veterans through Operation Solar for San Diego Troops and equally humbled with the support of the Global Giving community.

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Ruth "the Riveter" with the installation crew
Ruth "the Riveter" with the installation crew

Our campaign to reach veterans has been exciting and rewarding for all. So far, 8 veteran families have received systems that will last for more than 35 years and will generate power for their home every day! What we've heard from our veterans who benefit is that this is a game changer. They need the savings badly. They also feel like they are contributing to a better environment for our country. 

Here are two stories from the field:

Summer got off to a good start with solar power installed for a “Rosie the Riveter!” Do you remember that phrase and those women?

Our “Rosie” is Ruth. Now 83, Ruth has, by her account, enjoyed an amazing life that included being one of the Rosie Riveters during WWI.

(Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military).

Ruth has always looked towards the future. During WWII, she joined the war effort as a reservist marine, building fighter planes. Afterwards, she worked for Howard Hughes as a technical writer. In the 60’s, she was a part of several civil rights campaigns. She is someone who is constantly giving back to her community.

Joe, her son, has been volunteering to install solar on others homes for awhile now and on installation day at his childhood home he helped the volunteer crew from Union Bank bring solar power savings to his mom who was delighted to also know that her rooftop would now be of service to in our transition to clean, renewable energy.

We went from the WWII era to the Vietnam Era with the kickoff of Operation: Solar for San Diego Troops - a campaign to provide solar power to 10 veteran/military families and to recruit, train and place at least 5 vets in a good paying solar job.

Thomas, a Vietnam era vet and his family, participated in the installation on his roof. He was joined by another Vietnam Vet who is now CEO of a local real estate firm, which is generously sponsoring our campaign!

If any group deserves financial independence, it is the military community of San Diego. We thank you for supporting us in our mission to provide this for veterans and many other deserving San Diegans.

The crew on the rooftop of Mr. Baker
The crew on the rooftop of Mr. Baker


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Organization Information

GRID Alternatives

Location: Oakland, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
GRID Alternatives
Tom McSorley
Project Leader:
Tom McSorley
Development Officer
San Diego, CA United States

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