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Shaw’s passion for HFOT runs deep

As a U.S. Army veteran, Kevin O’Meara, Shaw’s vice president of integrated supply chain, has a special appreciation for the company’s involvement with Homes for our Troops (HFOT). The main mission for HFOT is to help build and donate custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, which resonates closely with O’Meara. Shaw, in fact, serves as the exclusive flooring supplier for the nonprofit organization.

“I’m super passionate about this,” said O’Meara, who also serves as the executive sponsor of ShawVET, Shaw’s employee resource group for veterans. “I feel really strongly about veterans and those who have given sacrifice to our country.”

O’Meara explained that Shaw’s mission for this project is to create a better future for the severely wounded, so in 2019 he and his counterpart Chester Chaffin, who spearheads ShawVET, decided to make it happen.

“We wanted to do something more external,” O’Meara explained. “We did a deep search on organizations, we prepared for it and five minutes in, we said we’re doing it — it just made so much sense.”

The resilient products Shaw supplies for the families of HFOT are specially curated. Most of the products must be able to withstand the mobility assistance of veterans, so it can’t be just any flooring.

Veterans choose which colors and patterns they like most. And the portfolio of products they can choose from includes COREtec Stone, which has an embossed thermo-resin layer, grout lines and a protective top layer to ensure the surface is scratch-resistant. Its rigid mineral core and cork underlayment provides comfort underfoot and dampens noise as well. Shaw also provides tile products and if a veteran sees a specific product they like from COREtec, but it isn’t present in the catalog, Shaw will make it available.

The flooring selection process can be confusing, but Shaw simplifies the process as much as possible. While it doesn’t limit products, the company does make sure the chosen flooring will work well in the home. Shaw has a concierge group to assist in the process as well. The company is largely focused on the consumer experience, which shines through in its projects with HFOT.

Sgt. Aaron Boyle chose COREtec Pro in Flint Oak for his new home.
Sgt. Aaron Boyle chose COREtec Pro in Flint Oak for his new home.

Additionally, there is an application process veterans go through to see if they are qualified for the home. Then, they will tell Shaw where they would like it to be located. “It could be locally, where they grew up,” said O’Meara, so Shaw’s national presence is what really helps these families a lot. “We are able to service the home wherever it is,” he added.

And Shaw knows how to kick off the celebration to make it special. The company hosts a key turnover ceremony that the veterans attend. One past ceremony, for example, took place in Taunton, Mass. with several ShawVETs in attendance as well.

To date, HFOT has built 345 homes since it first began in 2004. And out of that number, Shaw has provided 57 homes with COREtec flooring, contributing some 2,300-2,800 square feet in total. Shaw Industries said it has committed to supporting the organization for another three years.

This article was written and published by Floor Covering Weekly, a Hearst Media publication.