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Habitat for Humanity program aims to help Wisconsin veterans

Ben Pfiffner, left, and Tom Hundt remove old siding from a Habitat for Humanity house on Thursday in La Crosse, as part of the Habitat for Heroes campaign. Pfiffner is a veteran of the Air Force and Hundt is an Army vet. (Erik Daily/La Crosse Tribune via AP)

Ben Pfiffner, left, and Tom Hundt remove old siding from a Habitat for Humanity house on Thursday in La Crosse, as part of the Habitat for Heroes campaign. Pfiffner is a veteran of the Air Force and Hundt is an Army vet. (Erik Daily/La Crosse Tribune via AP)

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A new campaign from Habitat for Humanity has kicked off in western Wisconsin to encourage people to volunteer and ultimately provide housing assistance to veterans.

The new Habitat for Heroes campaign began in La Crosse this week in honor of Veterans Day, The La Crosse Tribune reported.

Veterans filled the program’s 40 volunteer slots in less than two weeks, said Kahya Fox, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity La Crosse.

“Our goal is to continue to get vets on the worksite and build that volunteer base,” she said.

Fox said the first part of the project will be about skill development, working with veterans of all ages and giving veterans support through volunteering.

Volunteers are working to overhaul a dilapidated house in La Crosse owned by Sarah Hicks and her children.

“When I heard it was for woman and her five kids I was really interested, knowing in the end it’s going to be home for those kids,” said Bridget Johnson, 37, who served in the Army Reserve from 2002 to 2014. “I really like the idea of giving back.”

Volunteers will continue working on the house’s interior during the winter. The project is expected to be completed next spring.

The second stage of the Habitat for Heroes initiative seeks to begin late next year and would have veterans build a house for a fellow veteran.

“It’s nice doing something together and putting in some hard work,” Johnson said. “Just knowing vets helped with the project I think makes it even more special. These are our brothers and sisters who served, and we have to take care of each other.”

Habitat For Humanity has worked with a committee of local veterans, veterans groups and businesses.

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