Tuesday, May 21, 2024

AEP Foundation grant aids veteran’s nonprofit with home project

by BIZ Magazine

Residents at Woody’s Home for Veterans soon will have a more comfortable living environment thanks to support from the American Electric Power Foundation (AEP Foundation).

The AEP Foundation, at the request of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), recently gifted the Shreveport nonprofit $14,000 to replace aging commercial air conditioning units at its two Shreveport homes for military veterans dealing with mental illness.

“All but two of our residents are over the age of 70, and we have one on oxygen, so functional and efficient air conditioning is crucial for us,” said Ronald “Doc” Key, Woody’s owner and administrator. “We have been spending thousands of dollars each year to keep these going, and it became apparent it was time to replace them.”

Woody’s houses 14 veterans in two historic homes in Shreveport’s Highland neighborhood. At nearly 4,000 square feet, each home utilizes four air conditioning units to keep it cool.

“We are so grateful to the AEP Foundation for this grant,” he said. “This money will help us to continue to provide a safe and dignified living environment for our residents.”

Key said the project has been bid out to a couple HVAC companies operated by veterans, and he’s eager to get the new units in place.

“I always like to use veteran businesses when I can,” he said. “It’s just one more way to support them and thank them for their service to our country.”

SWEPCO has been a long supporter of Woody’s with employees delivering food and toiletry donations each Veterans Day and assisting with various projects throughout the year to benefit residents.

“We’re really proud to be a part of what Woody’s does for the veterans here,” said Business Development Lead Ryan Stillwell, who leads SWEPCO’s Military Veterans Employee Resource Group, and is himself a veteran. “So many people leave home, leaving their loved ones and the people who support them, and they don’t always come back the way they left.”

Key founded Woody’s in honor of his late father, Harold Woodrow “Woody” Key, a World War II veteran, in August 2003.

Since then, it’s provided more than 379,565 meals, 75,856 nights of lodging and 257,843 hours of service to veterans. Key said while there are other similar facilities, the nearest is 60 miles away.

“Woody’s provides a home and safe haven for veterans where they can interact with one another, feel safe and continue to receive the care they need and deserve,” he said. “We appreciate the support we receive from the AEP Foundation and SWEPCO that helps us continue in this mission.”

Homeowners can learn more about a series of tax credits for home energy improvements and clean energy upgrades expanded and extended through the Inflation Reduction Act here.

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