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Disabled veteran in Door County experiences the kindness of strangers

Local News

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A disabled veteran in Door County knows the kindness of strangers. As Kris Schuller reports, Tuesday his community came together to repair his home – fallen into disrepair.

Outside of Torrence Lautenbach’s home – a crew of volunteers hard at work. Tearing apart a rotting deck and an unusable wheelchair ramp.

“That whole deck sunk 8 -10 inches,” said Lautenbach. “It lasted 25 years, but it’s shot now.”

They are aging structures which this Vietnam veteran had extreme difficulty using because of limited mobility.

“Do the repairs on my own? No, I can barely walk,” Lautenbach said.

Needing help Lautenbach went to the VA and was told it could take up to two years. So in June he went to Door County Habitat for Humanity – which saw he needed help.

“Torrence turned in a work request, I came out and took a look at it. It was sagging and drooping in some areas,” said Todd Hansen from the non-profit organization.

And Habitat teamed up with Adopt A Soldier Door County which provided funding to make replacement possible.

“We’ve been blessed the last two years to have received some very nice donations,” said the group’s director.

Hutchinson says her organization has helped hundreds of veterans the last 11 years with gift baskets and even dentures. But for the first time they are funding home repairs.

“It’s important to give back to all the veterans. It’s our way and the community’s way of saying thank you for your service and giving back to them,” Hutchinson said.

Joining the project – local Coast Guard personnel.

“Somebody who gave their time to serve our country in the past needs our help. We’re more than happy to give it,” said Mike Zeller.

Soon the old deck and ramp will be gone. After Labor Day new structures will be in place.

“The wheelchair ramp will give me access so I can get to my yard, get to my car, it’s going to give me mobility,” Lautenbach said.

Thanks to the generosity of strangers – eager to help veterans in need.

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