MAYFIELD, Ky. (WGNO) – A group of St. Tammany Parish firefighters are making a Kentucky army veteran feel at home following a catastrophic tornado this past December.
Army veteran Tim Andreasen and his family received the keys to their new house in Kentucky last week. Andreasen’s previous home was nearly destroyed in the EF4 tornado.
“Today starts a new chapter in our lives,” said Andreasen upon seeing his newly completed house for the first time.
Four firefighters with St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 volunteer with the nonprofit A Soldier’s Journey Home, which helped make the rebuilding project possible.
“When we get on scene, it’s a very large footprint,” said Eric Abney, a retired training officer with St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1, as well as a board member for A Soldier’s Journey Home. “Not only are we building a house, but we have to have a place to feed the 120+ volunteers who show up.”
After three months of preparation, volunteers started with a slab of cement, and within two weeks, a brand-new house was move-in ready.
“By the end of the process, you look around and you’re like, ‘We just did this in 2 weeks.’ Like, this is purely amazing,” said John Fourcade, a fire operator paramedic with St. Tammany. “There’s nothing you can see like that anywhere else.”
The firefighters say it’s difficult to put into words the satisfaction they receive from working together to give a veteran a new home.
“It feels great to be able to give back to people who have given so much for us over the course of their service to the country, and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 fire captain Jason Cetrone.
The company En Chroma, which distributes color blind glasses, gifted both Andreasen and another firefighter volunteer a pair of glasses, so they could see the house despite being color blind. According to Abney, he and his fellow board members are already in talks for next year’s project.