MUNCIE — A Vietnam veteran in Muncie has a brand-new place to call home and it’s all thanks to donations and hard work from community members.
John Holaday, a 77-year-old veteran, was at risk of losing his home earlier this year. According to the Delaware County Veterans’ Affairs Officer, Holaday’s house had no running water, electricity or sewage.
“I'm not going to let a 77-year-old veteran, a combat veteran at that, live the way that he was living, and I knew that somebody had to take a step up to make this thing happen,” said Nathan Jones, Delaware County Veterans’ Affairs Officer.
Jones says they were able to raise about $30,000 in donations and an additional $12,000 from an anonymous religious organization. Several local businesses and contractors also donated supplies and manpower.
Students did a lot of the work on Holaday’s home. The Muncie Area Career Center took their construction technology lessons outside. Students had hands-on learning while building the home.
"It's so wonderful. I'm thankful from the bottom of my heart for everybody that has done this for me,” said Holaday. “There are some people who I think deserve it more than me, but Nathan said you guys wanted to do it. I wasn't an outgoing hero in Vietnam. I just did my job over there and kept my head down so I could come back alive"
Those who helped build his house, said otherwise and call him a hero.
According to Jones, John Holaday served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. He earned a Combat Infantry Badge and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
On Tuesday, he was also able to reunite with family members. He hopes to spend many years in his new home. “I hope since you guys and everybody built this house for me I’m going to try to hang out another 30 more years you know, that’s going to put me at 107!”
Jones says they hope to start a foundation to help other veterans in similar situations. If you’d like to get involved, you can contact Jones at email@example.com.