In 2013, when Mike Swallow, Vice President at CBIZ Retirement Plan Services, won the Invest in Others Volunteer of the Year Award, he shared the story of veteran Alex Haworth and his young family, whose dream home in Olmsted Falls, Ohio was infested with mold and needed to be rebuilt. Mike is President and Co-Founder of the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT), which supports military personnel and their families. The $20,000 donation from Invest in Others was the first in NEOPAT’s campaign to rebuild the Haworth’s home.
Alex Haworth joined the Army National Guard in 2008, while he was in college, and was deployed to Afghanistan in January 2012. On April 4th of that year, a 12 year-old suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest while Alex and his team were on a foot patrol in the city of Maimanah. Three Americans were killed and eight were wounded, including Alex, who suffered from a broken arm, broken leg, and had 26 ball bearings go through him. After a long, challenging rehabilitation schedule, Alex and his wife, Mallorie, bought a home in Olmsted Falls, believing that it would help give them a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that their dream home was infested with mold.
That’s when Mike Swallow and NEOPAT stepped in. “After a number of months, NEOPAT and a team of local construction experts determined that the house was unlivable, and in fact needed to be knocked down and rebuilt. And at that point in time, NEOPAT, with the local VFW and a national organization known as HONORS, got involved to be the primary fundraisers for helping this family get back in their home,” said Mike Swallow. “The $20,000 that we received from Invest in Others was used for the foundation, the framing, and the roof and allowed us to kickstart the project and provide something the rest of the community could see, so the rest of them could join us in finishing off the Haworth family home,” Mike stated. Alex, Mallorie, and their two daughters moved in to their new home on Saturday, November 8, just in time for the holidays. “The fact that everyone gave what they gave us, it can’t be reciprocated,” Alex said. “The flag with the 50 stars on it is why we did what we did, not for this. And the fact that it’s here, it’s a testament to what this country is and what it always will be.”
As for NEOPAT, Mike shared, “the Invest in Others award allowed us to create awareness not only for the Haworth family project but for our organization and the mission that we have to support patriotism and support local military families.” We’re looking forward to hearing more great news from NEOPAT!