Volunteers help local disabled veteran - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Volunteers help local disabled veteran

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB)--A local disabled veteran and his family are getting a lifesaving home makeover. And as WDRB News has learned, it's all being done at no cost to the homeowner.

It is part of a program called "Operation Helping Heroes."  Dozens of volunteers are hard at work trying to keep John Gatz from losing his home.

"I was in the Gulf War and I went to Afghanistan in 2009," says John Gatz, disabled Veteran.

Two tours of duty in the middle east have taken a lot out of Gatz and left him with lots of health issues.  That includes post traumatic brain injury.

Gatz says, "Honestly, it's probably been one of the toughest 3 years of my life."

The tough times got even worse when Gatz found mold in his home.  That caused him to move his family to an apartment, but just when he hit rock bottom, help arrived from strangers.

"A little embarrassed," says Gatz.

Meanwhile, the giant fan blowing in Gatz's home is to keep a handful of volunteers cool while they renovate the house.

"And so we had to identify how serious it was and if we could save his house.  It was about to be foreclosed on so there's a lot of things we had to put together to make this happen," says Mike Morgan, Program Director, with Operation Helping Heroes.

Morgan's organization helps military and first responders who need a hand.  "When this is said and done and you don't have to worry about mold anymore and he's got a little man cave where he can just go and regroup and get himself together so that he can be the husband and father he wants to be for his family."

Gatz says, "I've been waiting a long time for a man cave

The man cave is just the icing on the cake for Gatz, who has something to smile about for the first time in a long time.  "The tough things in life are finally backing away for a little bit so that I can maybe try to enjoy life somewhat with my family."

The renovation project is expected to be finished just in time for the 4th of July. It is about 15-thousand dollars short of the goal, however. 

For information on donating to the organization, click here.

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