Muncie high schoolers raise thousands of dollars, rebuild home for Vietnam veteran

Education

MUNCIE, Ind. –  A group of high schoolers from across Delaware County are stepping up to help a Vietnam veteran. They learned the veteran was struggling and on the brink of losing his home.

They weren’t going to let that happen.

This school project for senior, Landon Hines, will be one he never forgets.

“If we could do this and build 200 houses for all of the vets that need it out here, we would definitely do that,” he said.

He and his classmates from the Muncie Area Career Center Construction Technology Program are calling this Operation John Holaday. They’re building John, a local Vietnam veteran, a new and stable home.

“We honestly had no idea how bad it was until we got here,” Hines said.

“This is called community coming together,” added Nathan Jones with the Delaware County Veterans Affairs Office.

Jones kicked off the fundraising which reached people across the country.

“I just don’t believe that any 77-year-old grown man who served our country should ever be living the way he was living,” said Jones.

Typically, the class gets a grant from the city of Muncie to build homes, but that wasn’t an option due to COVID-19. They were able to raise $40,000 with more donated in supplies to help build John’s home.

As the instructor of this class, Jeremy Penrod couldn’t be prouder.

“The kids come into class and they can’t read a tape measure, and before you know it, they’re building a house,” said Penrod.

Building not only a home for a veteran but showing, that his community cares and thanks him for his service.

“They’re doing such a good thing for the community,” Penrod added. “They think they know now; they will really know when John comes home and we’re really looking forward to that day.”

The veteran should be able to move in to his new home by mid-December.

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