By Kristian Jones
On Wednesday morning, we raised the last roof truss on our new build in the small community of Frederic. Our AmeriCorps members travel daily to sites that span two counties here in northwest Wisconsin — counties where the poverty rate exceeds the national average.
We worked alongside the young parents of the partner family the first day and all had the chance to see the concrete slab in a grass field transform into the beginnings of their future home.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted in the course of my service or felt so amazed by what can be accomplished by a small group of driven people. My knees are scuffed, and we’re all covered in mud and sweat by the end of the day, but we’re happy to do it. It’s a labor of love.
Polk County, one of two counties served by Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity, is home to many U.S. military veterans. A disproportionate number of former servicemen and servicewomen suffer from poverty and substandard housing. Wild Rivers Habitat is helping to address this shameful situation, in which those who have served us live in unfit conditions.
On Tuesday night, we heard stories from two local veterans. Although decades have passed since their military service, their memories were vivid and heartbreaking. Their stories underscored the crucial need to solve the problem of poverty housing. No one deserves to grow old in a house that has no heat in the winter and no ventilation in the summer.
Wild Rivers Habitat is reaching out to veterans and making a positive change. This week, we’re all lending a hand, swinging a hammer, and building toward a solution.
Kristian Jones, a first-year AmeriCorps member, serves as a volunteer coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Kansas City.