A Gift to Marriage

Richard & Sonya

VetsBuild graduates
Occupation: Entrepreneurs

Richard and his wife Sonya are ready to start the next chapter of their lives together.
Richard served 33 years as an Air Force Reservist in a variety of capacities, including a radiology specialist. Sonya is a military wife and mother. Now, the couple is preparing to start their own business in real estate. 
The couple’s career goals have been in development for a number of years. As Sonya explains, “My husband has an entrepreneurial spirit. I wasn’t sure if [real estate] would be profitable but as the years went on I realized that this was his passion.”
As fate would have it, upon discovering a flyer for United Way of Long Island’s VetsBuild program, Richard and Sonya immediately enrolled in the program. They were eager to learn about home-building skills in order to increase their likelihood for future success. Richard says, “We feel very privileged to be able to do this together and to have the opportunity to have a common understanding about the inner workings of what makes a house function.” 
VetsBuild helped the pair cultivate the information needed to turn their business dream into reality. Richard and Sonya participated in a variety of courses including building science and principles along with HVAC and natural gas courses, all of which equipped them with industry level knowledge taught by working professionals. 
The impact and value of VetsBuild on these two is quite apparent: “We have a more heightened awareness of what is around us, which is truly priceless,” a skill that Sonya describes will be useful not only in their business endeavors, but also in their house hunt to purchase their own home. 
Richard describes, “If you have a genuine interest to learn, you will benefit. The program does what it sets out to do, in an excellent way, and helps you feel like you have the ability to succeed.” 
Perhaps the most surprising effect of the enrolling in VetsBuild isn’t the technical training, but how the program deepened their relationship. Sonya notes, “This is a gift to him as a serviceman and a gift to our marriage.”
We look forward to watching Richard and Sonya continue to achieve their real estate dreams.  
VetsBuild is a signature program of United Way of Long Island's Mission United, dedicated to providing job training in the green energy construction field for veterans and their families, at no charge to the veteran.