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Mahindra USA raises more than $150,000 in one evening for Operation Finally Home

Published on 13 February 2012

Galveston’s Lone Star Flight Museum was the scene for a night no one in attendance will ever forget.

That’s where Mahindra USA, the number one selling tractor brand in the world based on volume, announced a partnership with Operation Finally Home in front of more than 600 Mahindra Tractor dealers, partners and staff gathered amongst World War II airplanes at a special event during the company’s recent National Dealer Meeting.

Beginning this year, Mahindra USA has pledged to donate two dollars for every Mahindra Tractor sold to the worthy non-profit organization that provides custom-made mortgage-free homes to wounded and disabled veterans and the widows of the fallen.

In addition, KMW, a key Mahindra partner and supplier of Mahindra loaders and backhoes, was so inspired it also pledged a dollar for every Mahindra-branded loader sold this year. But these announcements alone weren’t what left everyone so moved – it’s what happened next …

Following an emotional presentation by Operation Finally Home Executive Director Daniel Vargas TSgt, USAF (retired) and Lieutenant General Rick Lynch, former Commanding General III Armored Corps at Fort Hood, Mahindra dealer regions demonstrated the true Mahindra culture of ‘Rise’ by spontaneously making competitive group pledges, each furiously trying to outdo the previous.

When the explosion of generosity and all the dust settled, the Mahindra dealers and the tractor giant’s corporate matching funds totaled more than $150,000 to help the worthy cause.

By the end of the evening there wasn’t a dry eye as Mahindra USA’s President Mani Iyer and Vice-President, Marketing and Strategic Planning Cleo Franklin were joined by Vargas and Lynch to express their gratitude for the unprompted outpouring of support and the organizations’ mutual goals.

“What an incredible and magical evening! Such an outpouring of support for our returning troops is a true miracle,” said Vargas.

“Our mission is to help returning heroes more easily face life back home. They deserve our help and the spirit with which Mahindra gave of their hearts was truly inspirational. Operation Finally Home and Mahindra clearly share a common purpose – to enable people to build better futures – so I have no doubt this will be a long and happy partnership.”

“The Mahindra culture of Rise is a movement of determined people coming together to drive alternative thinking and positive change for a worthy cause and we can think of no better embodiment of that mindset than Operation Finally Home,” added Iyer.

“These soldiers and Operation Finally Home make me proud to be an American, and what I witnessed tonight makes me proud to be a part of the Mahindra family” said Franklin. “This organization is helping our country’s returning heroes succeed in their challenging new worlds by building creative coalitions among other corporate entities. As our family of generous dealers showed tonight, that’s what Rise is all about.”

Operation Finally Home was born in 2005 when Dan Wallrath, a custom builder of upscale homes for 30 years, met with a client on a different mission – he needed to remodel his home to accommodate the wheelchair of his son, a returning wounded veteran, and didn’t know how to pay for it. Wallrath mobilized an army of carpenters, plumbers and suppliers who took on the remodeling job for free, widening doorways, building a ramp to the back door and making the bathroom handicapped-accessible.

He took this idea to his local trade group, the Bay Area Builders Association, and convinced members to start a home-building program for wounded veterans. Since then, Operation Finally Home has provided 32 homes to wounded returning veterans as well as widows of fallen heroes in Texas, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois. Wallrath was named a “2010 CNN Hero” for his efforts.  FG

—Mahindra USA press release