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NEWS STORIES

Groups donate time and materials to repair veteran's homeSubmitted: 11/14/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com

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MINOCQUA - Most Vietnam veterans didn't get a celebratory welcome home.

But a pair of Northwoods groups wanted to show veterans from wars past that they care now.

Veterans like Rich Koch remembers his first time in Vietnam.

"When you first get there you are real scared," Koch said. "You know nobody pays much attention to you because you are the new guy."

Koch felt the same way when he returned a year later from Vietnam in 1970. He flew into O'hare Airport past midnight and was picked up by his wife. He didn't get a hero's welcome.

But Koch knows first hand that people deal with veterans differently these days. Still, he was surprised when a group wanted to repair and remodel his home for free.

"I had no idea what they were going do," Koch said. "They say could we help you out and are there anything that you are planning to do."

An area Home Depot joined forces with the Wausua based Ultimate Sacrifice USA to repair and remodel Koch's home. They started work Thursday.

More than ten volunteers took down old cabinets, pulled up old carpet and removed bathroom fixtures. Home Depot's Jason Kuharske says the home need some work.

"It definitely was needed," Kuharske said. "You could probably live there, but it will be nice to know that they can come to a home instead of just a house."

Home Depot donated around $20,000 in material and labor. They replaced floors, cabinets, vanities and other items in the house.

They worked with Ultimate Sacrifice USA founder Bob Cankar. He used to run a business, but enjoys this more.

"The business can't compare to being able to help a veteran that when they went in they didn't know if they we're going to be coming back," Cankar said.

But Koch did make it back, and now he's getting help from the people he fought for. He believes this is finally his welcome home.

"It's beyond words I can't explain it to you," Koch said. "It's like a miracle."





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