Press Room | 2013

April 11, 2013

HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS VOLUNTEER DAY FOR SGT. CHRISTOPHER SANTIAGO, APRIL 20, 2013, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD

LANCASTER, PA, APRIL 11, 2013 – Volunteers can sign up now to help finish a brand new home for local veteran Marine Sgt. Christopher Santiago on April 20, 2013 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The home is being built by Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization that builds specially adapted homes for the nation's severely injured veterans. All houses are built by HFOT at no cost to the veteran through the support of individuals, foundations and corporate contributors.

Volunteer Day is when friends, neighbors and total strangers can help with landscaping, cleaning and miscellaneous chores before the family receives the keys to their new home. Contact Community Outreach Coordinator Autumn Oster at aoster@homesforourtroops.org to get involved.

These projects depend on labor donated by contractors and skilled workers and from donated materials. Armstrong, as the exclusive flooring supplier to HFOT, has provided floors for the Mullis home. Employees from Armstrong headquarters in Lancaster, PA also will be among the day’s volunteers.

Marine Sgt. Christopher Santiago was on his 3rd deployment when he lost both of his legs and severely injured his left arm and hand when he stepped on an IED while opening the gate to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) after returning from a night mission in Saklawia, Iraq on September 16, 2006. Having felt uneasy as if something bad had been in the general atmosphere for a couple of days, Sgt. Santiago was pleased to be returning to base after a day-long mission, followed by an unexpected late-night mission. Telling his radio operator to stay behind, Sgt. Santiago exited the HUMMVEE to open the concertina wire gate, a job usually performed by the radio operator. As he scanned the adjacent field and street, he stepped on an IED that had been buried at the gate. Never losing consciousness, Sgt. Santiago began checking himself for injuries and began to realize the dire condition he was in. Calling out to his fellow Marines to let them know he was alive, Sgt. Santiago recalls the looks of horror on the faces he passed as he was carried to the medical room on base, his friends visibly shaken.

The first medical helicopter sent to evacuate Sgt. Santiago to the forward surgical site disabled itself on landing and a second helicopter had to be dispatched. Chris recalls the doctors saying they would need to amputate his legs before slipping into a coma for nearly a week. Eventually transported to Landstuhl, Germany, Chris remained there for several days as doctors worked to stabilize him for the trip home. Spending two months at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Chris was next moved to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he would spend nearly a year recovering after more than fifty surgeries.

Sgt. Santiago enjoys spending time with his wife, Becky and their two young sons, Robert and Christopher. He enjoys reading and studying financial history subjects. Pursuing his Bachelorate degree in Global Business and Public Policy with a minor in Finance through the University of Maryland University College, Chris had attended Marshall University in Huntington, WV on a full academic scholarship prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps and placing his education on hold. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Seeking Alpha Contributors, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Association for Individual Investors.

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Armstrong products donated through this sponsorship include engineered hardwood and resilient floors that meet universally designed criteria. A portion of sales from a new Armstrong hardwood flooring product, American Scrape™, support Armstrong’s donation of flooring in 2013 to Homes for Our Troops. The specially adapted homes built by HFOT include many products that help the veterans participate in and enjoy daily life with their families. Each house is designed to provide maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently after returning injured from service.

The efforts of Homes for Our Troops take millions of dollars of ongoing donations to build homes for veterans in need. There are hundreds of service members who will be needing its help from across the country and more coming home each day with life-altering injuries sustained while fighting for our freedom. For more information on HFOT, visit www.homesforourtroops.org. Consider donating supplies or labor or making a monetary donation. HFOT is one of the highest rated veterans/military charities rated by Charity Navigator, which awarded it with its highest rating of 4 stars for each of the last four years. For more information on Armstrong flooring, visit www.armstrong.com.

About Armstrong World Industries
Armstrong World Industries, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors and ceilings. Based in Lancaster, Pa., Armstrong operates 34 plants in eight countries and has approximately 8,700 employees worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.armstrong.com/.

News Contact
Michelle Zelman, 717-859-6766
mjzelman@armstrong.com.

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