We had the good fortune of connecting with JR Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JR, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
H-Towne & Around Remodelers is a full service remodeling company that specializes in making old, dated, tired looking homes new and beautiful again. You could say, we love breathing new life into them and we love to see our clients excitement when we are finished. We also believe in giving back to the community through our 501C company, Guns To Hammers, which specializes in helping wounded veterans in their homes with various ADA remodeling type services. These types of services enable them to live life more independently with dignity. A portion of every project H-Towne does, goes to supporting our foundation.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
In the early 90s, I had just left the Marines with a new perspective on life. I knew, that I was destined to be my own boss one day, the everyday grind of military dictatorship was not for me long-term, so I made the conscious decision to leave my Marine family. It was a decision that would later haunt me to no end. A short time later, I found myself working in the construction field learning the business from a well-known remodeling company in Houston. After several years working with them, I decided it was time for me to take my newly acquired knowledge and experience and open my own business. Shortly thereafter, H-Towne & Around Remodelers was born. As I built the company from the ground up, our country went back to war, where many of my friends who I served with deployed and sadly, several were KIA. I felt gutted, extremely torn, conflicted, Half of me wanted to go back in the Corps, the other half of me said they had their chance, your destiny moving forward is not with the Marines. So during this time, as more of our military members were coming home either dead or paralyzed from that horrible thing called the “improvised explosive device” that was becoming a household name, As a prior infantry Marine, I often wondered that if I had stayed in, could I have ever made a difference being there with them? During these years, I call these my “dark years” as for the first time in my life, I felt extremely depressed. To overcome, work became a positive distraction for me, and I put my nose to the grind stone and tried my best to pull myself out of the dark place and put everything I had into building a successful construction company. Subsequently, H-Towne grew, and business was good. As our name and online reputation grew, we began getting phone calls from wounded veterans that needed help in their homes. Many of these veterans had been cut down in the prime of their lives, now unable to do the most basic things in their homes such as navigate around their homes without the help of somebody else, That “somebody else “was usually a wife or a mother who now became their caretaker. The VA at the time were not paying for many of the upgrades needed to make a house wheelchair accessible, to bring bathrooms up to ADA compliance, so the expense was left to the family members themselves, and many did not have the resources to be able to do that. PTSD Veteran suicide rate began to climb drastically, as many of these Vets felt Helpless and hopeless. So around 2013, I’d had enough. I decided to start Guns To Hammers Construction, A 501(c)(3) that’s mission is to raise money to help veterans in their homes live life more independently with dignity. We traveled the country coast to coast 3 times, in our Star-Spangled Banner wrapped Jeep, named “Gunny” going from city to city spreading our word, many of the major TV & Radio networks covered us and we started to raise money. Jeep corporate out of Toledo, Ohio, heard about our adventure around the country in a Jeep built in their plant 20 + years ago and they offered us a red carpet visit, where we were greeted by the VP of marketing and was awarded a very generous donation. They thanked us for what we were doing and reemphasized Jeep has supported our military since the 40’s. Today, our foundation has grown and we now have completed projects In Texas Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Nevada. It continues to grow, and we continue to positively impact the lives of wounded veterans. Our revenue comes from several places, one being the every day sponsors through social media & Veteran owned microbreweries around the country, who brew a Guns To Hammers ale for us, donating proceeds per pint and one microbrewery in Tennessee that produces a Guns To Hammers moonshine named “Hammershine” We are currently selling that product in 35 states through our online distributor.. As our foundation has now developed a life of its own, it makes me extremely proud to be steering this ship. We continue to build partnerships and relationships with other veteran nonprofits, and we often band together on projects to help each other out. One of which is the AHERO Group out of Pensacola Florida, a fantastic group that helps veterans with PTSD. H-Towne continues to be a major sponsor as well to GTH with proceeds from every job going into the foundation. Today, with the amount of veterans that we are able to help, I’m no longer haunted by what I should’ve done or what I could’ve done at the age of 22 when I decided to get out of the Marines and pursue life as an entrepreneur, H-Towne was my destiny and it became the means, Guns To Hammers became the glue that actually stuck, which enables us provide a positive impact to our community of Vets, and for that, I couldn’t be more proud of and it brings me a lifetime of happiness!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Local Microbreweries Bearded Fox, wicked boxer, loan pint, 11 below, no label, Karbach, Saint Arnold, platypus breweries Lupe tortillas For the best fajitas ever
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like a shout out to all of the ladies in my life, starting with my mother who always believed in me, my sister who was always my biggest fan growing up, followed by my loving wife who has always encouraged me as well as supported my endeavors and finally my daughters who are always motivating me to be a solid role model.