“What’s amazing about this community is it’s a giving community, it’s a patriotic community, and it’s a loving community,” said Mike Swallow, co-founder and president of the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT). The non-profit supports local military families in Northeast Ohio by providing financial assistance, sponsoring projects, and hosting events.
A source of pride for NEOPAT is that it connects civilian and military families, encouraging non-military individuals and families to devote their time, resources, and talents to help active service members, veterans, and their families. One of the prime examples of this was when the organization rallied its community together to rebuild a local veteran’s family home.
Alex Haworth, a veteran who sustained significant injuries while deployed in Afghanistan, and his wife, Mallorie, bought their dream home in Olmsted Falls, Ohio in 2013. Unfortunately, they discovered that a mold infestation rendered the house unlivable. That’s when Mike and NEOPAT stepped in.
Not only did NEOPAT provide the primary financial support for rebuilding the home, but the organization also helped the family source contractors and materials, worked with the bank to delay payment of the loan, and used its media contacts to get the word out to encourage others to support the project.
Mike won the 2013 Invest in Others Volunteer of the Year Award and the $20,000 donation from Invest in Others couldn’t have come at a better time. The donation allowed NEOPAT to begin the Haworth project by funding the home’s foundation, framing, and the roof. More importantly, it kick started the project and gave the community something tangible to support. Within a year, Alex, Mallorie, and their two young daughters were able to move in to their new house and make a home in their community.