The metal construction industry’s largest international event for metal construction products, technologies and solutions gives back to the local community during its 25th annual METALCON tradeshow and conference taking place October 14-16 at the Tampa Convention Center.
METALCON is partnering with the America’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping U.S. Armed Forces’ veterans, to raise money for military veterans in need of care at Tampa’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center.
METALCON is no stranger to the local community. At METALCON 2006 in Tampa, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Russell ‘Russ’ Marek of Satellite Beach, Fla., was awarded a new, ADA compliant accessible home through METALCON’s annual giving back program. Marek who was severely injured in 2005 while serving in Iraq spent more than a year recuperating at Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, which opened its Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in 2014—this year’s recipient of METALCON’s giving back program.
The Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center is one of five facilities in the United States designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and service members who have experienced severe injuries.
Staff Sgt. Marek suffered serious injuries when his tank was destroyed by enemy fire. His right arm and leg were severed, in addition to parts of his right ear and left hand. He also suffered severe head trauma and burns to more than 20 percent of his body. “To date, Russ has made amazing progress in his recovery and soon is expected to be walking without assistance,” said Russ’ father Paul Marek, Sr.
METALCON Show Director, Claire Kilcoyne was incredibly moved by Staff Sgt. Marek’s courage and determination to move forward. Having maintained a strong relationship over the years with Marek and his family, they look forward to joining together at METALCON’S 25th anniversary celebration.
Knowing many more young military heroes exist, Kilcoyne announced METALCON’s giving back program will continue to benefit the America’s Fund throughout each year, assisting military in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“Going forward we want to ensure METALCON’s giving back efforts benefit those brave individuals who’ve put their futures on the line to make all of us safer and able to enjoy all of the freedoms we have,” says Kilcoyne. “By affiliating with America’s Fund, we open the door for more recipients and donations on an ongoing basis, not just at our annual event.”
Donations can be made to America’s Fund throughout the year and can be applied to specific programs or veterans upon request.
America’s Fund is a program created to direct urgently needed resources and financial support to injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. It is a self-funded program of the Semper Fi Fund. Since its inception in 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has provided more than $100 million in support to veterans and their families.
“We are honored to be chosen as the official charity of METALCON; their support will make a difference in the lives of so many service members and their loved ones,” said Karen Guenther, CEO and President, Semper Fi Fund.
Contributions to the America's Fund can be made at www.metalcon.com or in the exhibit hall at The Deck, booth 973. Army Staff Sgt. Marek, along with America’s Fund representatives and METALCON management will be available for comment at the booth on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
For more information, visit www.metalcon.com.