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March 05, 2024

Purple Heart Home completed for local veteran

Bill Rocap’s new home.

By MICAH HENRY

It was a long-awaited day on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, for Vietnam U.S. Navy veteran Bill Rocap, of Taylorsville. That’s when he was able to receive a brand new “tiny home” on his property on Barrett Mountain south of town.

The home was provided by Purple Heart Homes with contributions by many organizations and individuals, including The Home Depot Foundation and Food Lion Feeds, among others.
Purple Heart Homes Co-founder and CEO, John Gallina, was on hand to welcome Bill to his new home, along with other project supporters.

“Bill worked on a destroyer during Vietnam. I got to know Bill a lot over the past couple of years, a few things I found interesting,” Gallina explained. “Out of the little more than 950 veterans we’ve served now, doing projects like this, we went out to the communities and start connecting with the communities. Hundreds of people knew Bill, but they didn’t know Bill’s story. The outpouring of love and support was just unbelieveable. That’s because of Bill’s heart and who he is and who he represents every day. That’s why, for me, this is one of my most proud moments for Purple Heart Homes, that Bill represents truly the epitome of the veteran that we strive to serve — those that are oftentimes left behind, left out, but in our minds, not forgotten.”

“A lot of veterans we serve, they harbor an anger. They don’t really understand why they were welcomed home the way they were, or maybe why they weren’t welcomed home at all,” said Gallina.

He noted an earlier conversation with Bill in which the veteran said many soldiers who fought in Vietnam came home to the United States, took off their uniforms, and threw them away.

“They didn’t tell anybody they were a veteran. They didn’t tell anybody where they served. They didn’t share their experiences. A lot of what we do today is about reintegrating veterans…We can still do that and right that wrong for our Vietnam vets,” Gallina stated.

“It’s not really about the house. The house is just an opportunity for us to be able to put him in a frame of mind, to let him know that he is loved, that other people love him,” Gallina added.
Other supporters who spoke included Paul Cockerham, Purple Heart Homes Chief Development Officer; Sean Vissar, with The Home Depot Foundation, which is a funding partner for Purple Heart Homes; Kathryn Sowers with Food Lion Feeds, which stocked Bill’s pantry and provided a $100 gift card to Food Lion; and Cheryl Campbell, Lake Norman Quilters, which provided a patriotic design quilt for the veteran.

Purple Heart Homes CEO John Gallina, left, is shown with home recipient Bill Rocap.

How Bill met PHH

Two years ago, Bill happened to meet a group of bicyclists who were doing a charity ride up Barrett Mountain to raise funds for Purple Heart Homes (PHH), of Statesville. He was curious about all the activity and learned from the group chaplain, Brad Borders, that the group sees the need of the 3.4 million service disabled Veterans in America, 90% of whom do not have the means to up-fit their homes to accommodate their disabilities.

Last October, Purple Heart Homes held the Take That Hill 2021 ride up Barrett Mountain. One mountain, 16 trips, and about 30 cyclists each climbing 10,000 feet in elevation over a total distance of approximately 64 miles. cyclists came from all over to participate. Some came from other states, including Washington state’s Project Echelon Racing Team, one rider from Alaska, as well as a good quantity of regional North Carolina riders. The ride raised more than $55,000 for Purple Heart Homes.

Bill gave reflections upon his life’s journey and his outlook on life.

A reception was held August 23, 2022, to welcome Bill Rocap to his new tiny home.

A resident of the Barrett Mountain area, Bill has been in North Carolina for about 20 years now. He loves the area, its picturesque views, its seasons, and its history. But most especially, Bill’s faith leads him to have a burden for his fellow man, for them to know their country’s history, the beliefs of its Founding Fathers, and to know Jesus Christ. He creates small, white crosses and hands them out with tracts, to urge people to seek Christ.

Bill noted that, when he was growing up, “in the classroom, we would start the day by pledging allegiance to the Flag, every day. Somebody would read some Scripture and then somebody would offer a prayer.” He then led the audience in The Lord’s Prayer.

Veteran Bill Rocap, recipient of a Purple Heart Home, thanked PHH and its supporters for their kindness and assistance.

“When I was drafted and entered the Navy, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. I haven’t un-taken that oath. At 19, I had a good idea of what foreign enemies were; we were fighting the Communists in Vietnam. Back then, my weapon was explosives. When they said ‘enemies domestic,’ I was a teenager, wet behind the ears, I didn’t understand that. Fifty years later, I’m still fighting Communists, but my new weapon, instead of blowing stuff up, is these crosses,” Bill explained. “If I can, Lord willing, I’d like to take the message of America, one nation under God, out there. It’s getting kind of dark out there. America has gone a different direction than when I grew up, when we were taught respect for the Flag, participating in the Bible. Freedom costs blood. And freedom from sin debt cost the blood of Jesus.”

How you can help provide homes for vets

PHH is nearing completion of its 1,000 home and its leaders hope the public can further its mission of providing housing solutions for Veterans that are substantial in function, design, and quality. People can help by becoming a volunteer or by making a donation. To donate, call 704-838-4044, text PHH to 26989, or visit purplehearthomesusa.org.

Purple Heart Home recipient Bill Rocap displays a small flag quilt gifted to him by the Lake Norman Quilters.

 

1 Comment

  1. Louise sammons on August 25, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Bill, my sweet friend, what a joy it is to see you in your new home! You now have what most people take for granted…walls and heat to keep you warm, running water to bath in, lights for seeing in the dark. You can now cook a nice meal in your very own kitchen. The Bible says, “to him that is given much, much is expected”. I pray that the people God has so richly blessed will consider making a donation and support PPH so that many other deserving veterans, like yourself will be helped with their needs so they will have a better life also! God bless and thank you PURPLE HEART HOMES!

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