Volunteers building new home for veteran

By The Associated Press

MUNCIE — A Vietnam veteran who lived in his central Indiana home without power and water for more than a year is getting a brand-new residence thanks to volunteers who are rebuilding it from the ground up.

The Delaware County Veterans Affairs Office worked with volunteers to demolish the Muncie home of John Holaday, 77, in early October and begin rebuilding it in the city about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis.

Volunteers, including students from the Muncie Area Career Center who are helping with framing and drywall installation, hope to wrap the project by December, said Nate Jones, the Delaware County Veterans Service officer.

Holaday had saved up for repairs to his home, but he was scammed by the contractor he hired, the Star Press reported. With his home in severe disrepair, health officials would have soon issued a condemnation order, making Holaday homeless.

Holaday, who served in combat in Vietnam, turned to the the Delaware County Veterans Affairs Office for help after living in the home for more than a year without power, water or sewer services.

“I never thought I’d see a miracle, but it’s a miracle in my lifetime. Thank you all very much and I appreciate everything you all do," he told volunteers last Thursday as they worked on the rebuild.

Local businesses chipped in for the project and donations to GoFundMe helped finance the work. Within the first week, the Veterans Affairs office office had raised $37,000, along with more than $10,000 worth of donated materials from an anonymous nonprofit.

Jones said that when the ambitious rebuild began, some people told him the effort was too extreme for his office, which typically helps veterans fill out paperwork, get wheelchairs or build ramps.

“I tell them, ‘You know what, it was awfully extreme for him to go overseas and be willing to give his life for this country too,’” Jones said. “I know what that’s like as a combat vet. I’m going to repay the favor to him and make sure he gets what he needs.”

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com