Judy Crawford, Executive Director of the Soldier’s House, explained that the effort is a part of their housing security program, the goal of which is home repair and retrofitting to keep Veterans in their existing homes, therefore “preventing homelessness by virtue of fortifying their structures.”
The funds that they received through the Challenge for Charities fundraiser this year helped “reinvigorate” that program, with Crawford commenting they received an “amazing outpouring of generosity” in the first year they participated.
(The Soldier’s House also offers a wellness program and a food security program which is also supported by the Wyoming Hunger Initiative Grant, and anytime they can support/foster community to combat isolation they do, with events like the recent fall harvest BBQ.)
Crawford shared that when The Soldier’s House learned a local Veteran’s roof had some issues and had sustained some serious damage from last winter, they knew what their next project would be.
The Soldier’s house then partnered with Wind River Job Corps, who are regularly looking for job based experience for their student population.
“We want to be engaged with the community,” Jerri Prejean, the Business and Community Liaison for Wind River Job Corps told County 10, adding that they do many community service projects when groups or entities “can’t meet a deadline or don’t have enough funds.”
The seven Wind River Job Corp students involved in this project included Laramie Rose, Faith Watts, Kiau Sterling, Logan Smith, Jesse Carter, Kasey Darnell, Keilyn Bell (Monday Only), and Kevin Keller (Tuesday – Friday).
Prejean said the students are all volunteers and included construction students, heavy machinery students and mechanic students.
Crawford told County 10 that the students are “getting various angles on this type of job,” and “learning all about roofing from our contractor.”
“These guys are motivated and take direction very well,” Crawford added.
In addition to the students, local Veterans Monty Hettich and Keith Trouwborst were there to help along with Judy’s Veteran husband Mark (who served as contractor and safety officer), as well as project leader Mike Bailey of Red Canyon Construction, who volunteered his time and materials (call 307-349-1157 to get ahold of Mike).
“The students are very engaged and enjoy working with the community,” Prejean later commented, adding that she has received “excellent feedback” from the students’ experiences this week.
Prejean also said that the project will be finished by early next week and would have been sooner if not for the snow, which wouldn’t have deterred the students if they had a say.
“The students were so excited to continue with the project that they were ready to get back up on the roof even in the cold snowy weather,” Prejean shared.
Prejean added that the Wind River Job Corps is “more than happy to help in way we can” with community service projects, even down to winter shoveling, and you can contact them for more information here.
While this is a first time partnership between The Soldier’s House and Wind River Job Corps, Crawford gave a resounding “Heck yeah!” when asked if there would be future projects, and explained that they signed an MOU to continue the partnership.
Crawford also added that even though the labor was provided through volunteers, materials are still quite pricey, and you can donate here if you would like to contribute.