LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

Helping build wheelchair ramp for disabled veteran in Door County

Local News

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A building project aimed at helping a disabled veteran in need in Door County resumed Tuesday. Kris Schuller reports the effort has joined three organizations together to help improve this veteran’s life.

In front of Torrence Lautenbach’s home, construction of a new deck and wheelchair ramp is underway. Replacing the rotting structures removed here three weeks ago.

“My deck that was here was 30 years old, imagine wood laying in a wet spot like this, it was falling apart, there was nothing left,” disabled veteran Lautenbach said.

The work is being done by volunteers from U.S. Coast Guard, Door County Habitat for Humanity and Adopt-a-Soldier Door County.

“It was totally rotten and the wheelchair ramp totally unsafe. Not just for Mr. Lautenbach but his family members as well,” said Nancy Hutchinson of Adopt-a-Soldier Door County.

Lautenbach first reached out to the VA for help with his deck and ramp but was told it could take up to two years. So instead he called Habitat for Humanity.

“The next day they are standing out here. Two guys from habitat are standing outside here. They say, do you need a porch built? I answer, yes I do,” Lautenabch said.

And they made replacement a priority.

“We ripped it down a couple weeks ago and now we’re going to rebuild to current codes. A nice permanent deck for him with a cover, with a roof,” said Gary Wemmert from Door County Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat and the U.S. Coast Guard are doing most of the work. Adopt-a-Soldier is paying most of the bills.

“It’s just a wonderful partnership that we’re getting along with,” said Wemmert.

“We’re all brothers and sisters, we all put on a different uniforms but at the end of the day we’re all part of the same family,” said Petty Officer Wes Wollenberg of the Coast Guard.

And after a short break – the groups are back to finish the job..

“Depending on the weather, two or three more days to complete the whole project,” Wemmert said.

Helping a disabled veteran – unable to help himself.

“This is fantastic. I never would have gotten this done,” Lautenbach said.

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