How VetsNet and its Partners worked together help a family restore hot water

Home Depot helped this veteran to get a new water heater

The veteran writes:

I was directed to VetsNet after contacting Heat for Heroes in Madison. They gave me a number for the American Legion in Madison who gave me the number to VetsNet.

After my initial conversation with Mr. [Quentin] Hatfield he started to contact other organizations to try and get the help for our need. He always kept me informed of what was going on and told me of other places to try and get help.

Every time that we called the staff was helpful. My family and I are very pleased with the results we have gotten from VetsNet. Mr. Hatfield was able to pool together resources from two organizations to help our need. I would refer other veterans in need to VetsNet. They help all veterans who wore the uniform and after being referred to them are the only organization, government or veteran, who really tried to help resolve our need.

Mr. Hatfield was a pleasure to work with and took personal interest in our need. I pray that he and the staff at VetsNet can continue have the strength and resources needed to continue to help veterans.

Thank You

~(name withheld to protect privacy)

The Home Depot Manager writes:

My team and I went out and completed the water heater install today for our veteran in need. The $569 water heater donation was paired up with a Home Depot provided Water Heater Protection Plan for $69 which extends the labor warranty on the water heater from 3 to 8 years to give our veteran great peace of mind. That coupled and with roughly $100 of new plumbing parts including stainless steel flexible supply lines, shut off valves and state of the art Sharkbite fittings helped it all go off without a hitch. Pictures to follow!

Thanks for helping provide us with this amazing opportunity to give back and build strong relationships within the community.

~Tyler Wagner, Store Manager, Lake Delton WI

A Home Depot installer checks the connections of a water heater donated to a military family in need.

The full story

In late January, VetsNet got a referral from the American Legion of a veteran family in the Wisconsin Dells. The father is the veteran and 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 heater 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 CVSO, 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 does have 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.

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 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.

On Wednesday, February 1, 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.

By 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 would be completed in the next few days!

Frustrated? Don’t know where to turn? Call VetsNet

If you’re a veteran or military family member having trouble getting the help you need, VetsNet may be the answer. No red tape, no bureaucracy, no Catch-22s. For many, we are the last resort. Call us and see how we can help.

Call (414) 257-3624

Wisconsin Veterans Network
6317 W. Greenfield Ave.
West Allis, WI 53214
Phone: (414) 257-3624


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