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Meet the Veterans Working at Window World

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Servicemen and women around the country help Window World further its mission of “Improving Homes. Changing Lives.”

Window World honors the men and women who protect our freedoms through the Window World Military Initiative (WWMI). The goal of WWMI is to support and serve America’s veterans, active military, and military families across the entire organization of over 200 stores.

At locations around the country, we’re fortunate to have veteran owners, design consultants, and office staff working to improve their communities by helping families remodel their homes with Window World.

We are honored to have vets working within our system, and it’s a pleasure to share some of their stories with you below. As we continue interviewing the brave men and women working at Window World, this post will be updated.

Window World Owner Mike Harkins

Window World Owner Mike Harkins and children
Window World Owner Mike Harkins and children

Mike co-owns Window World of Carrollton and Window World of the Chattahoochee Valley with his brother-in-law in Georgia. Mike served 28 years in the Army before coming to Window World. We had the opportunity to interview Mike before the 19th anniversary of 9/11.

Give us a brief overview of your time in service, including deployments (number of deployments, locations, and length).

I’ve served 28 years in total. My deployments include Haiti, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and two within the contiguous United States.

What does Window World’s partnership with Team Red, White & Blue mean to you?

Ever since Window World started this partnership, I've been talking about it. People want to know about Team RWB, who they are, and why Window World is partnering with them. I love the story, and I love the passion that Team RWB brings. It marries up with what Window World is all about: God, Family, Country!

Where were you on September 11, 2001? What is your memory from that day?

I was working at Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, in the Information Technology Department when I heard the news and went immediately to the Server Room to watch the second tower fall. At the time, in the US Army Reserves, I was assigned to the Emergency Operation Center at Ft. Benning as a Sargent E-5. I was immediately put on temporary orders for 30 days and reported to Ft. Benning that afternoon. Temporary orders eventually turned into deployment orders. For 18 months, my unit, the 2145th Garrison Support Unit, moved from Nashville, Tennessee, to Ft. Benning to support deployment efforts to the Persian Gulf Region.

How should folks preserve the memory of 9/11?

Remember the people who gave their lives to save others, from the fireman running up the stairs in one of the towers to the grunt, E-4, who never made it back to his wife and kids. Take a moment to remember them, say a prayer for their families, and thank God that they did what they did, so we can have what we have.

Freedom isn't free; someone has already paid the price. We can at least remember them for a moment and not forget. Real history is learning from the past.

What do you want people to know about veterans who served in the wars after 9/11?

Trust me; you don’t see the scars. Sure, you’ll see some of the physical scars, but the emotional ones are the hardest to get rid of. I have many friends that were never the same when they came back from the desert. 

I would say, say, “thank you!” Say thank you when you see a guy wearing a hat of the 82nd Airborne Division, when you visit the 75th Ranger Emblem on a truck, or when you see the Corp of Engineers Logo on the backside of a window of a minivan. Those guys and gals had to go through stuff most people can’t even imagine. From sniper fire to ambushes, roadside bombs to mortar fire. Just say thank you – this way, they know what they did, what they went through was worth something. A few seconds could mean the difference of one less soul lost to suicide by taking the minute. Some people want to talk. Listen!

Window World Owner Jared Heinz

Window World Owner Jared Heinz and family
Window World Owner Jared Heinz and family

Jared owns Window World of La Crosse in Onalaska, Wisconsin, where he has operated the store with his family and friends for over 12 years.

Give us a brief overview of your time in service, including deployments (number of deployments, locations, and length).

I served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 2008-2012, deploying to Iraq in 2009-2010 for Operation Iraqi Freedom (the first year we opened our Window World store).

What does Window World’s partnership with Team Red, White & Blue mean to you?

As a franchise owner for 12 years, it has been great to see the relationship and support that Window World has with veteran organizations and their commitment to serving and recognizing those who have served. The partnership between Window World and Team RWB in remembrance of the fallen heroes due to the September 11th attacks is another reason I am proud to be a Window World franchise owner. 

Why do you believe it's important to keep the memory of 9/11 alive?

As Americans, we need to realize that we have it better in this country than any other. The freedoms we enjoy are not a right; they are fought for by the men and women in uniform. Also, because of the events of 2020, many have lost the memory of sacrifice and service that the men and women in other uniforms (law enforcement and firefighters) have given to this country over the years and especially on that day.

What do you want people to know about veterans who served in the wars after 9/11?

As an Iraq war veteran, I can speak for most vets that when you get on a plane or ship to head to another country to defend the freedom we enjoy in the USA, we don't do it for political reasons or glory; we do it for our family, our community, our brothers and sisters in arms.

Many veterans tend to wear their service in many different ways: tattoos, clothing with their service branch on it, a logo on their vehicle, etc. We don't do this to show off our service; we do it because that time in our life was monumental, and we want to make sure the heroes that were not able to make it home will always be remembered. When thanked, we often answer with "thank you for your support," which is precisely what today's veterans need: the support of their family, friends, and community. Not all wounds are visible, and freedom is not free.


The interviews on this page have been edited for length and clarity. To learn more, visit the Window World Military Initiative page

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