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Veterans Build


November 3, 2023

On November 4, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Palm Beach County and the City of Boynton Beach partnered to bring the annual Veterans Build presented by Vertical Bridge to the heart of Boynton Beach with a ten-home neighborhood revitalization. Five of the homes belonged to families of veterans, including WWII veteran William Barton and Staff Sergeant Larry McGrady, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran with 20 years of service. Over 150 volunteers, including 40 veterans, installed new mailboxes, painted, spread mulch, landscaped, and assisted with other repairs and cleanup for the homes. The presenting sponsor, Vertical Bridge, had a team of a dozen volunteers onsite. In addition, several employees from the city of Boynton Beach, including City Manager Daniel Dugger, Assistant City Manager Adam Temple, and Boynton Beach City Commissioner Thomas Turkin, rolled up their sleeves to participate in the neighborhood transformation. Veterans, Van P. Williams, Provost and Dean of Palm Beach State, Sophia Eccleston, Energy Director at NextEra Energy, and Michael Coleman, Executive Director at Roots & Wings delivered remarks at the event and led the Challenge Coin presentation honoring all veterans in attendance followed by celebratory BBQ luncheon. The initiative was made possible by a generous gift from Vertical Bridge: “Homeownership can profoundly impact lives – it is the American dream. Facilitating this dream can profoundly impact lives too. Bringing together citizens, veterans, and business leaders to improve the homes of war heroes, seniors and families is profoundly impactful,” Vertical Bridge President Ron Bizick said. “That is why Vertical Bridge continues to support Habitat for Humanity through our employee-driven and employee-managed Vertical Bridge Charitable Network. Because of the employees of Vertical Bridge, the VBCN can present Habitat for Humanity of Greater Palm Beach County a gift of $100,000 to continue to impact the lives of so many of our neighbors,” Vertical Bridge.  Additional funding to make the event possible was provided by The Home Depot Foundation and FPL. Volunteers from the City of Boynton Beach, City of Boynton Beach Police Department, Palm Beach State College, Christ Fellowship participated in the event. Veterans Build is organized by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Palm Beach County in collaboration with the City of Boynton Beach’s City Manager, City Commissioners, and its Departments of Economic Development & Strategy, Police Services, Community Standards, Parks & Recreation, and Building.



The Home Depot


Florida Power and Light South Palm Beach
Habitat Veterans Build South Florida

Van P. Williams

Honorary Veterans Build Guest Speaker

Mr. Van P. Williams is the Provost and Dean of Student Services for Palm Beach State Boca Raton Campus (9,000 students) the third largest of five campuses serving Palm Beach County and is the former Director of the Federal TRIO Programs (5) and Outreach at Palm Beach State College since April 4, 2009.

Mr. Williams also serves as an adjunct faculty member and taught at least one section of Introduction to The College Experience each semester. Prior to joining Palm Beach State College, Van was the lead and managing investigator for the Florida Commission on Human Relations Employment Discrimination Division. During Van’s five-year tenure at the FCHR, he also served as the community relations manager and worked to promote tolerance and respect for diversity through character building and diversity workshops.

Van is an honorably discharged noncommissioned officer with accommodations from the United States Army wartime service and served on contiguous U. S. bases and abroad. A few of the roles Mr. Williams has served as a military police officer/investigation which is the uniformed law enforcement branch of the United States Army. Investigations are conducted by Military Police Investigators or the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, both of which report to the Provost Marshal General. Also, Van was selected to participate in the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) which is a United States Department of Defense security, medical and psychological evaluation program, designed to permit only the most trustworthy individuals to have access to nuclear weapons (NPRP), chemical weapons (CPRP), and biological weapons (BPRP). Mr. Williams received an Army Achievement Medal for his role in the U. S. Department of defense nuclear retrograde mission at then the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California. Finally, Mr. Williams also served as a unit training Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) for the 218th Military Police Company and the later as the company’s armor and custodian of $20 million in weapon systems and ammunition. 

Van is married to the lovely Dr. Michelle C. Williams and has five adult children who are all college graduates.

Questions? Contact Danielle Iverson at [email protected]