Louisville community comes together to rehab vacant house for ho - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville community comes together to rehab vacant house for homeless veteran

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) –  A United Sates Navy veteran served her country, and now her community is serving her.

For every nail and rotting piece of wood that’s removed and thrown in a dumpster, it's one step closer to a new beginning and the start of a new life for Marlena Aldrich.

Aldrich is a single mother of four children who now has five grandchildren. In 2014, she fell on hard times.

“I just couldn't get caught up and found myself homeless,” Aldrich told WDRB News.

But soon, she will no longer be homeless.

Dozens of local organizations and community members have come together to repay Aldrich for her service including, Greater Louisville area unions, The Housing Partnership Inc., Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, Kentucky Habitat for Humanity, Metro United Way, Athena’s Sisters and the Louisville Fire Department.

Volunteers spent hours stripping and gutting a vacant house in south Louisville that will be soon be Aldrich’s home.

“I love it," said Mike Hynes, president of the Housing Partnership Inc. "I love helping our society fulfill its obligation to our veterans."

“This will be the first time that there has been a permanent placement for a female veteran in the state of Kentucky, as far as we can determine,” said Joe Phelps with Metro United Way.

Aldrich is a member of Athena's Sisters, a support group made up of all female veterans. Through that group and empowered now with her own story, she's paying it forward and helping other female vets.

“There was a woman that was struggling, was thinking about committing suicide," Aldrich said as she held back tears. "I shared this story, and it gave her hope."

As her future home is stripped down to bare bones, there is still a lot of work to be done. But one of its most important features has already been added: the stars and stripes of an American flag.

“I can't explain how much it means to me," Aldrich said. "And I don't think I'll ever be able to repay them, but I'm forever, forever grateful."

Aldrich’s home is expected to be complete by late-August or September.

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