For all that veterans have sacrificed for us, it’s the least we can do to repay them with kindness.
But for this group of high schoolers, a simple act of compassion wasn’t going to cut it. They decided to build a veteran named John Holaday an entire house instead! After a year of living without electricity, water, or sewage, a series of unfortunate events led John to the best possible outcome.
When John first set his sights on his home, he saved up an envelop full of cash to buy it. He planned to use the leftover money to remodel his new place, but he hit a major stumbling block.
“He had actually hired a contractor that ended up ripping him off, taking the last almost $8,000 worth of money from him,” Veteran Affairs officer Nate Jones said.
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This was a huge blow, both financially and emotionally. Yet even in his time of need, John never complained. Fortunately, his community realized what was going on and stepped in to fill the gap.
“This community really rallied together, and, man, it don’t matter what we would’ve asked of them,” said Jeremy Penrod, the local high school’s construction technology teacher. “We could’ve asked them to go rope the moon, and they would’ve brought us back a moon.”
A group of 26 high school students decided to claim this project as their own. The teens showed up every morning with no idea what the day had in store for them. They just grabbed their tools and got to work!
“There’s guys in here that the first day they came in here, they didn’t know how to read a tape measure,” high schooler Jayden Stevenson said.
Still, they showed up, got their hands dirty, and got the job done. In just 51 days, John’s old home was torn down and a new one was built in its place. It was all thanks to these kindhearted teenagers!
“They didn’t complain one day,” Jeremy added. “They worked in the rain, they worked in the snow.”
It was that selfless determination that helped John’s dream home become a reality. The moment he arrived at his completed house, his immense elation took over his entire countenance.
As John walked across the yard into his new home, he was left in tears the whole way, stunned and overwhelmed by the great kindness he had been shown.
“So many people donated their time and money to make it come true for this old man,” John said through tears.
“You guys have made us proud,” Jeremy added on their “OPERATION JOHN HOLADAY” Facebook group. “We are so thankful for this opportunity and these students have made memories that will last a lifetime.”
“Thank you for your service and enjoy your new home, Mr. John Holaday.”
Here’s to many happy years for John as he embraces his brand new home, built on sacrificial love, honor, and kindness!
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