Connect with us

Local News

Veteran-owned non-profit owner receives new generator as a present



Rochester, New York – Operation Build Up is a non-profit organization owned by marine veteran Justin Cogswell, who has received years of time, effort, and donated materials in exchange.

“We do everything from bodywork, paint, engines, transmissions, brakes, you name it, whatever it needs to make sure that it passes inspection for the veteran that we surprise with it,” Cogswell explained, “We put together just a few veterans that got tired of seeing our friends return home from overseas and become homeless or become a statistic, so we decided to put our efforts together and just do something to assist them in their transition.”

The organization was founded by Cogswell in 2016. He has already fixed and given more than 300 automobiles to other veterans with a little extra assistance. But there are difficulties in the job.

“When the lights go out, you realize real quick everything is tied to electricity,” he said.

It’s the culmination of years of giving back to the veteran community. Joe Zajonczkoski has experience of his own. He spent more than twenty years in the army. After that, he was hired by Home Power Systems, where he still finds time to volunteer in the neighborhood.

“We are in the warehouse of Home Power Systems,” Zajonczkoski showed. “Right now, there’s probably close to 200, maybe 150 (generators). Right in the middle of their busy season, they found an extra that’s looking for a new home. These are not cheap. I mean, an average installation is, pretty pricey. We pride ourselves in being the best. So, to be able to take all of that and give back to a veteran that does what he does is kind of an honor.”

An Operation Build-Up generator that is free.

“I’ve never actually won anything,” Cogswell smiled. “These backup generators are great for storms, great for emergencies. If the power goes out and we have a mission going on and we’re working on something for a veteran, we’ll be able to, you know, keep going through the night. So this is going to give us a lot of benefits to our mission.”

“Being on the other side of it, it’s a lot easier to give gifts than receive them. When they said that I had won something, I walked in, I’m like, so cool, you know? So then I decided to give it to Operation Build Up,” he explained.