Stone World

Building Pros Help a Hero, Turn a House into a Home

January 17, 2011
Waldenmar Alameda and son Waldie.


At first, I did not notice the all-access design of the NextGen Experience house. But then I spotted Waldemar Alameda, a 39-year-old father of two. He was using a walker to navigate the crowded house.

Sometimes, hardship brings out the best in people. Despite the exceedingly tough conditions in the housing market, construction pros reached out to help a family in need last week in Orlando.

One of the staples of the International Builders Show (IBS) is visiting the NextGen Experience House. For the last nine years, it has been built outdoors in the days leading up to the show. The NextGen house is one of a collection of site-built structures that showcase the latest and most innovative products used by the homebuilding industry.


This year Champion Homes assembled a modular house that demonstrated barrier-free, ADA-compliant systems. Many generous companies donated expertise, labor and products to create living conditions that are highly functional, energy-efficient, and eye-catching.

Special access features include ramps, ADA-compliant appliances and plumbing, a stair lift, and an overhead lift system that allows the user to move from the bedroom to the bath with minimal effort.

While the home has many great features, it wasn’t overbuilt like you often see on well-meaning TV shows. The main floor is 1,100 square feet, with 700 square feet on the second story. The house was compact and robust.

Best of all, when the dust settles on IBS, it won’t mean the end of the NextGen house. It is being donated to the Alameda family thanks to some great coordination by Rebuilding Together of Tampa.

Following 17 years of service to his country, Alameda became permanently disabled when an IED explosion blew up his convoy in Afghanistan. Several vertebrae are “messed up”, he said.

At the end of the evening, several speakers shared details about the planning and execution that went into this year’s NextGen house. As each person finished their greeting, they turned and hugged Alameda in a manner that said, without words, “we know what you did on behalf of our country and we care about you and your family”.

Alameda’s wife Wanda, 13-year-old son Waldie, and 11-year-old daughter Maria soon will have a very special place to live. The house will be dismantled, shipped to Tampa, and reassembled, where it will transform from a house to a home.

Thanks, Mr. Alameda, for your selfless service to our country. And thanks, building pros, for your willingness to help a hero.