H.J. Martin helps area Vietnam veteran realize his dream

H.J. Martin helps area Vietnam veteran realize his dream

Posted on November 19, 2015 by

A year-long dream is turning into reality for Vietnam veteran Jerry Monson as he watches a replacement home go up in Appleton, Wis.  H.J. Martin and Son is excited to be among 20-plus companies in the local construction industry who are teaming up to donate and discount more than $50,000 in building costs.

One of the original area youths served by the Rawhide Boys Ranch during its beginnings in the 1960s, Monson subsequently became an auto mechanic.  He then enlisted in the Army at age 19, serving a year in combat in Vietnam as a helicopter mechanic.

After his discharge, Monson purchased a used mobile home on a rural lot in the Apple Creek area.  He continued his career as an auto mechanic, but faced serious, ongoing health challenges due to exposure to Agent Orange during the war.  Now 69, Monson has been on work disability for the past five years, with a monthly fixed income of $1,157 and no savings or assets beyond his lot.

Unfortunately, during a 2013 weatherization of his 40-year old mobile home, the roof was caved in and rain subsequently destroyed the home.  While insurance paid to replace the trailer, city zoning codes no longer allowed new mobile homes to be constructed in that location.

With no feasible way for Monson to pay for the construction of a new, permanent home, a different strategy was needed.  John Gillespie, who had founded Rawhide Boys Ranch with his wife Jan, contacted Ross Giordana of Giordana Home Builders in nearby Kaukauna, Wis., looking for a way to build a new home with limited funds.

Excavation was done and walls were set in early November 2015 (photo courtesy of John Gillespie)

Excavation was done and walls were set in early November 2015 (photo courtesy of John Gillespie)

Giordana put together an all-star team of local construction professionals to help make a new home for Jerry Monson possible.  Excavation was done in early November 2015 for the “Jerry Home Project.”  Footings and the foundation followed shortly after.

Approximately 1,200 square feet of flooring is needed for Monson’s new home, consisting of carpet and sheet vinyl.  H.J. Martin is donating all of the flooring product.  The sheet vinyl is scheduled for installation on Dec. 28, while the carpet is anticipated to be put in place on Jan. 18, 2016.

“Anyone who has heard Jerry’s story knows that this is the right thing to do,” says H.J. Martin CEO Edward Martin.  “It tugs at your heart, to learn everything he has gone through, both throughout his life and in recent years.

“When Ross Giordana contacted the builder sales department in our Neenah (Wis.) showroom, we wanted to be involved.  We have been working with Ross to identify the best flooring options for Jerry’s new home.”

The home is being constructed on a beautiful, 1-acre lot at 3029 Broadway Drive in Appleton, Wis.

UPDATE: WLUK-TV in Green Bay provided an update HERE in February 2016 upon completion of the “Jerry Home Project.”

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