Portage store owner helping disabled veterans one bathroom at a time

PORTAGE, MI — Caring for those who served in the military is both a personal and community responsibility, Frank Mumford said.

That belief led Mumford, owner of SIR Home Improvements in Portage, to sponsor the Baths for the Brave initiative, in which a disabled veteran is selected twice yearly, on Memorial and Veterans days, to receive a free bath makeover, designed to increase their independence, a news release from his company states.

“I wanted to do something for our veterans in honor of my father who served as a Marine during World War II,” Mumford said in a statement. “Over the years, we’ve worked with a great many disabled people to help them maintain their independence at home by installing walk-in showers and walk-in tubs.

“I know from personal experience what a life-changing difference this can make for someone who may otherwise be faced with moving into assisted living.”

Mumford’s company is one of 10 home-improvement companies from across the U.S. that have banded together to improve the lives of veterans and thank them for their service, according to the Baths for the Brave website.

On Veterans Day in 2020, Sgt. James Hurley, an Iraqi War veteran from Van Buren County, became the first area veteran selected by SIR Home Improvements as part of the program. Hurley’s walk-in shower, according to the release, will be installed on Feb. 5.

As part of the Baths for the Brave program, SIR Home Improvement in Portage is one of 10 home-improvement companies from across the U.S. that have banded together to each offer two disabled veterans per year in their respective areas free walk-in showers. (Courtesy)

Hurley made national news after returning home from the Iraq War in 2005 to find his bank had illegally foreclosed on his home and resold it, resulting in a Federal lawsuit that lasted seven years.

Related: Iraq vet James Hurley loses ‘dream home’ to foreclosure

In addition to making front pages locally and across the country, his court case and his struggles were documented in a book, “A Soldier’s Home: United States Servicemembers vs. Wall Street,” written by Matthew Cooper.

SIR Home Improvements of Portage is now looking for another recipient who is challenged by getting in and out of a traditional tub safely due to either being a wheelchair user, needing a cane/walker to get around, or because they face another physical challenge that makes at-home independence difficult to maintain.

Veterans, or their friends and family, may nominate a veteran in need for this program by visiting www.baths4thebrave.com. For more information on the program, call 800-747-4633.

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