A VetsNet Success Story
Searching for a new water heater

Our collaborating agencies bring peace of mind to this vet, his disabled wife and 3 children

We got a referral from the American Legion of a veteran family in the Wisconsin Dells. The father is a 13 year Army National Guard veteran who was never deployed, so is not eligible for VA or WDVA veteran benefits. He was honorably discharged. The wife is disabled and the husband is the full time caregiver for her and they have three minor children ages 13, 8 and 6.

Their water developed a leak, so the dad has been turning it on and off as they need hot water, but it needed to be replaced. We reached out to agencies all over the area, and the veteran also reached out to his local County Veterans Service Office, utility company (who sometimes have programs for replacement) and other agencies, but could not find assistance. We talked with the manager of the local Home Depot. Home Depot has a national foundation and they have an affinity for veterans; plus, each local store has some funds available for philanthropy. The store manager said he did not have enough funds to do the whole project in-store, but could possibly apply to the national foundation.

Blog Article Figure
Two workers from Home Depot donate time to remove a rusty, leaking water heater.

In the meantime, we also heard from Jean Bardeen, FAC specialist with the Military Family Assistance Center at Camp Douglas, WI, that there is an organization in Green Bay called HOOAH, Inc., and they are a 501.3(C) nonprofit that provides assistance to veterans needing home repairs and other needs. We contacted them and they told us that if we could certify the need, certify the veteran’s status and get them their application complete with 3 bids, they would consider the project.

Blog Article Figure
The newly installed water heater, with an 8-year protection plan and $100 of new plumbing fixtures.

On a Wednesday in February, we drove to Lake Delton and met with the veteran and the manager of the Home Depot store. The manager told us that, if we could get the water heater paid for, he would not have to go to the national foundation, but would provide the labor and materials for installation out of his budget. He gave us pricing on three water heaters, the veteran provided all is discharge papers and we completed the HOOAH application and express mailed it to Green Bay on Wednesday evening.

On Sunday evening we had an email from William Hocken, Chapter VP for HOOAH, Inc., and he advised that they had approved the project. Long story short, Home Depot has to contact him for credit card information and the project will be completed in the next few days!