Area veteran breaks ground on new home thanks to Habitat for Humanity

La Crosse Habitat for Humanity has been setting up a program to build homes for area veterans for the last few years.

Today they broke ground on the first home for an area veteran…and they didn’t have to look too far to find the perfect candidate.

“I’m actually kind of a sucker for old stuff, antiques.”

Volunteer Jacob Klatte loves walking the halls of the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Center.

“Stuff like this is cool. It would just remind me of things I’d see at grandma’s house, y’know?”

Jacob’s wife has always kept him from buying new additions to their living space.

“I’m always sending photos like, look at this, and she’s always like ‘No, we have enough furniture.'”

He’s been trying to convince his wife to add more furniture, ever since he started volunteering.

“Jacob’s actually been volunteering with his family for different habitat things for years now,” said Kayha Fox, executive Director for Habitat for Humanity for the La Crosse area.

Jacob helped organize Habitat for Heroes, a program building homes for military veterans. But had a hard time hearing from those who served.

“A lot of people who are service members and veterans are still in the mindset of ‘I’m not here to receive, I’m here to give.'”

But of all the veterans in need that are turning down help, He found the hardest one to convince was the man in the mirror.

“I realized, I’m no different from the veterans I was trying to reach out to.”

So he filled out an application. After the foundation reviewed his living and income status, the former marine broke ground on his new home.

“It’s surreal. It’s really easy to convince oneself that ‘I’m not that bad off, I don’t really need it. Somebody needs it more than I do.'”

He felt that same stubbornness to not ask for help, but realized other people were depending on him.

“First and foremost it’s for my kids, and my family.”

Now he hopes to use his story, as an example for other vets who need help, but aren’t willing to ask for it.

“I want to be an example. ‘Hey, this is something I did to, and there’s a lot of really good reasons to do this.'”

The home won’t be ready until next year, giving Jacob time to find other vets in need, and pick out some furniture.

“There’s going to be an unfinished basement in it that I’m going to turn into a bachelor pad mancave, But I guess I have to share that space with my wife so, we’ll see.”

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