In January of 2020, Army Specialist Carlos Gomez (center) cut the ribbon for his new HFOT’s home protected by a residential sprinkler system.

Protecting Veterans with Home Fire Sprinklers

Victaulic Participates in Homes for Our Troops 

American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) member Victaulic is donating sprinklers to one of two custom homes in Escondido, California, being built for Marines who were both injured during tours in Afghanistan and require residences with adaptions designed for enhanced safety and accommodating mobility. Victaulic joins other AFSA members, including contractor members Western Fire Protection, Poway, California, and JB Fire Protection Inc., Fullerton, California, to protect these Veterans from the devastation of fire.

Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) builds and donates specially adapted custom homes across the U.S. for severely injured, post-9/11 military Veterans to help enable them to rebuild their lives. HFOT has built 316 homes since 2004 and has another 67 projects are underway. AFSA is among several associations, businesses, and Veteran foundations that partner with HFOT. AFSA is the official partner of HFOT to facilitate donations of sprinkler systems and volunteering for professional installations.

The Escondido projects kicked off in April. In addition to sprinkler installations, the new, one-story homes will include widened doorways for wheelchair access, roll-in showers, safety bars, lower countertops for accessibility, and generators. The Veterans who will move into these homes are a teacher pursuing a doctorate and a mountain climber studying to become a physical therapist.

AFSA President Bob Caputo, himself a Navy veteran, reached out a few years ago to engage Product Manager of Sprinklers and Devices Daniel Wake at Victaulic on a similar home project for a Veteran in Arizona, starting a tradition of such service within the company. Victaulic contributed sprinklers and valves as well as procured pipes and other materials. In addition, Wake and a colleague donated time during construction to consult on the installation.

“Victaulic never hesitated for a minute and offered to provide all the equipment needed, including parts they had to procure from other suppliers. They showed up in force to assist with the installation, and Chris Stason provided lunch for everyone,” says Caputo. ‘‘A few months later, when a second home for another wounded veteran was being built, we didn’t want to impose on Victaulic a second time, but when they found out about it, they stepped up again! The commitment to ensuring the safety of our wounded warriors is in the blood at Victaulic and with all of the AFSA member volunteers installing sprinklers where they’re need the most.” 

While sprinklers are critical life-saving equipment for everyone, they are especially important to residents with any reduced mobility and provide another level of required safety in a home designed for wounded Veterans, Wake noted. “It’s even more meaningful,” he said.

AFSA members alike feel privileged to donate their time and materials to support the mission of creating safe, specially adapted custom homes for Veterans.

For its part, Victaulic’s connection to the military harkens back to its origins. Victaulic’s innovative spirit was born out of a military need. The company was established in 1919 as The Victory Pipe Joint Company to manufacture mechanical couplings to connect fuel pipelines in the first World War, which spawned applications for piping now deployed across various markets globally, including fire protection; mining and oil and gas infrastructure; and plumbing, heating, and air markets. 

Since then, Victaulic has fostered a company-wide appreciation for troops. During the observance of the company’s 100th “innoversary,” Easton, Pennsylvania-based Victaulic received the 2019 Veteran Smart Award from the Lehigh Valley Chamber for its commitment to serving those who have served. The company sees great value in its Veterans hiring initiative.

Victaulic recognizes the value of the leadership skills as well as technical backgrounds that veterans bring to an organization. Veterans at Victaulic work in engineering, sales, human resources, and other areas. The company aims to provide an ongoing commitment to hiring Veterans, working with Veteran-owned businesses, and further participating with Veterans charities. Victaulic is proud to be a member of AFSA for its fire safety mission and the association’s dedicated service to Homes for Our Troops.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Howser is vice president – fire protection sales at Victaulic.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Several AFSA members are contributing materials, time, and manpower to these homes in Escondido, California. Once the homes are completed, the Veterans and their new homes will be featured in Sprinkler Age. If you would like to become involved with the AFSA/Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) partnership, contact Executive Director of AFSA’s Sacramento Valley Chapter Paulene Norwood with Alwest Fire Protection in Roseville, California, volunteer coordinator for AFSA’s HFOT projects, at

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