John Gonsalves - President and Founder
Board Position: Immediate Past President
September 11, 2001 was a life-changing experience for all Americans. The resulting military deployments of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and subsequently, Operation Enduring Freedom have profoundly changed the lives of many American service members.
After watching a news story on television about a soldier that lost both of his legs due to a roadside bomb in Iraq, John Gonsalves, a construction supervisor from Raynham, Massachusetts wondered what was being done to support our men and women who had sacrificed so much for our country. He set out on a mission to volunteer his time and expertise that he possessed in building homes that met the requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to an organization that provides such services for those most severely injured as a result of combat.
Mr. Gonsalves was dismayed when he could not find an organization that was supporting such a mission. With an escalating urge to fulfill an unmet need, he knew needed to find a way to help these men and women that were returning from combat severely injured. Traveling to military hospitals to visit with injured and their families, speaking with Veterans’ organizations, and researching the difficulties facing America’s injured service members as they tried to find specially adapted and barrier-free homes, John realized most existing handicapped housing did not take into consideration the types of disabilities incurred in combat therefore, adequate homes did not exist in the marketplace. In February 2004, John founded Homes for Our Troops.
When asked about starting a new non-profit organization, John Gonsalves said, "Starting up a non-profit organization was a field as far away from supervising construction projects as it gets. It’s been a learning experience, and tremendously rewarding. The outpouring of generosity from our citizens at times is overwhelming. The Veterans I have met along the way have touched my heart and I am honored to have them as my friends. Homes for Our Troops is dedicated to providing specially adapted homes for disabled Veterans as long as there is a need."
As the leader of the Homes for Our Troops organization, Mr. Gonsalves is committed to maintaining the highest professional standards, keeping it financially efficient and professionally staffed with dedicated personnel. His efforts were recently rewarded when the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), one of the country’s premier charity watchdog organizations, reviewed Homes For Our Troops’ finances and included the organization in their Top-Rated Veterans & Military Charities listing with an "A" rating. Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator, recently awarded Homes for Our Troops with a Four Star rating, the highest rating available from this organization.
In its first two years, Homes for Our Troops built a handful of homes as it worked diligently to spread the word nationwide about its mission. Since then, the organization has grown into a highly rated, prominent, national non-profit organization that has built and donated more than fifty specially adapted homes to severely injured Veterans. The organization continually has approximately 30 homes in various stages of construction across the United States and all the services that this organization provides is at no cost to the recipient.
Mr. Gonsalves travels extensively throughout the United States speaking about Homes for Our Troops and advocating on behalf of injured Veterans, including his testimony before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity Hearing on Specialty Adapted Housing in 2007 and 2009.
He has been featured in the national media including CNN, NBC Nightly News, Fox News and numerous local media outlets across the country.
Awards and Recognition:
Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service
Ellis Island Medal of Honor
Ellis Island Medal of Honor Society Member
Quoted by President Bush in his Address to the Troops at Camp Pendleton, CA
Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor
ENR Top 25 Newsmakers Award
Home Magazine’s Home Shelter Award
Meeting with President and Mrs. Bush in the Oval Office
Massachusetts National Guard Minuteman Award
And he has received letters of support from the President of the United States, members of Congress, Senators and Governors and high-ranking military officials to include Senator Edward Kennedy, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Major General, U.S. Army, William B. Caldwell.
To contact John about corporate sponsorship opportunities, email his Executive Assistant, Karen Bracchi, at email@example.com. Or call 866-7-TROOPS Ext 210" to "To inquire about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Annemarie Amoedo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-7-TROOPS Ext 219."