November '19

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114 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S and keep it in good condition for at least one year. And, they must keep it in an RV park approved by Adapt A Vet. If they meet these requirements, Adapt A Vet turns over the title to the recipient free-and-clear and they can either keep it or sell it to put a down-payment on a house. "This gives those affected by the hur- ricane time to rebuild," Cotugno says. Melani Zurawski and her family lost everything – including their jobs, cars and home, in the hurricane. The family stayed in tents and later in a temporary donated RV. Her family found out about Adapt A Vet and suggested she turn to them. The Zurawskis were the second recip- ients of a trailer from Adapt A Vet in Port Aransas. Recently, they completed their year of requirements and were awarded the title to the RV. "It was just wonderful to actually have space to stretch my arms and legs out and be able to move in a circle inside of a shower," Zurawski says. "They're just wonderful people – they put 200 percent of their hearts into what they're doing to help us out. And, they're a part of my family now." Raeanne Reed also was a victim of Hurricane Harvey. Having lost every- thing, Reed had nowhere to go, so she stayed at a friend's place and then later at hotels. Then she found out about Adapt A Vet. A receipt of her own RV was pushed back when funding was delayed in getting to Adapt A Vet. Now that the funding is available, Reed's current problem is finding an RV slot that's affordable, has availability, and is willing to let her have a one-year lease. Reed is currently waiting for her turn to get an RV and says she appreciates how much the Cotugnos have fought to secure funding to provide veterans and their families an RV. "Roxann and Mike have been nothing but golden. They've really put their heart and soul into it," Reed says. "These people have really fought hard for us; that's what really amazes me." Nonprofit Makes Home Modifications for Vets The Cotugnos started Adapt A Vet in 2015 to provide much-needed assistance to military veterans and their families, particularly those veterans with disabilities and those who served in the Vietnam and Korean wars, as well as World War II. At its inception, the nonprofit's pri- mary focus was on repairing, improving, adapting or modifying the homes of vet- erans to fit their needs/disabilities. These changes include wheelchair-accessible entryways, roll-in showers, widened halls and doorways, lowered counters, as well as creating a service dog-friendly home. The goal is to give veterans with dis- abilities freedom and mobility so that they won't feel like a burden to the family. The organization's services also are a nod to Roxann Cotugno's grandfa- ther, a World War II veteran, who was moved from his San Antonio home and familiar surroundings in his later years to an assisted living facility in New Mexico. Cotugno says the move was hard on her grandfather – U.S. Army Master Sergeant (retired) Raymond W. Pircher – who only lasted about a year after that move. "I believe truly with all my heart if he had been able to stay in his home here in San Antonio, go to the church where he and my grandmother got married, and be there in his home where they raised all their kids, he would have lasted a lot longer than he did," she says. "It's in honor of him that we go in and adapt homes for veterans of all eras, so nobody has to go what I went through in losing my hero." Mike Cotugno presents a title for a trailer to a military family. Military veterans must complete an application and qualification process in order to be eligible for the program, which includes maintaining the RV and keeping it in good condition for at least one year in an RV park approved by Adapt A Vet. If participants meet these requirements, Adapt A Vet turns over the title to the recipient free-and-clear and they can either keep it or sell it and use the proceeds to put a down-payment on a house.

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