Natural Stone Institute Completes 35th Home with Gary Sinise Foundation

Natural Stone Institute
(440) 250-9222



Oberlin, OH, May 13, 2021—The Natural Stone Institute has provided natural stone and fabrication services for its 35th home with the Gary Sinise Foundation through its R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program. The Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program builds 100% mortgage-free specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. Natural stone and fabrication for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jay Fondren and his family in Texas were provided by Walker Zanger, Dee Brown, and Real Stone Veneers of Tennessee.

Jay enlisted in the Army in January 2000 and was initially shipped to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. There he learned loyalty, duty, respect, courage, and honor. The service quickly reminded Jay of the values his family had instilled upon him growing up. He had found his new home. On November 24, 2004, Jay was severely injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Both of his legs were blown off above the knee, but Jay’s protective instincts kicked in. His initial concerns were for his fellow service members, but he soon learned that it was in fact himself who was in the most immediate need of medical care. After the attack, Jay was in a coma and was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. When he woke up, his wife, sister, mother, and father were there to greet him, demonstrating the strong sense of family the Fondrens had always shown.

Jay currently works with Camp Hope in Houston, a faith-based residential treatment center for veterans. Jay, his wife, Anne, and their six children currently live in the Houston area. Their new specially adapted smart home will help them in their daily lives and provide them the chance to embark on a new chapter of their lives.

Companies interested in getting involved with future projects are encouraged to contact Pam Hammond at pam@naturalstoneinstitute.org. To learn more, and to see a list of all Natural Stone Institute members who have donated their time, products, and services to this cause, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/RISE.



About the Natural Stone Institute

The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 nations. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org. 


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