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Community comes together to repair wounded warrior's home

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Volunteers have been working to repair Sgt. John Gatz home for four months. Volunteers have been working to repair Sgt. John Gatz home for four months.
Sgt. John Gatz Sgt. John Gatz
Todd Dunn Todd Dunn
Michael Morgan Michael Morgan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville community came together to help the family of a military veteran who suffers from a traumatic brain injury. 

WAVE 3 News brought you the story of John Gatz this summer. Gatz, his wife and three children were living in a home that was making them sick. The home was full of mold thanks to a damaged heating and air conditioning system.

"It was just generating, creating and blowing mold throughout the house," said Michael Morgan of Service For Peace/Operation Helping Heroes.

But this is a story about when things come together. Morgan was the first part. He heard about the Gatz family struggles.

"John and Christina had looked everywhere that they could possibly look to get help with it and we didn't want to do it because it was a huge undertaking and we had zero dollars to do it with," he said.

Luckily Morgan hooked up with the Ford UAW and its members are good at more than just building cars.

Local VP Todd Dunn said, "Nick, our team leader, said, 'Todd, it's a lot of work,' and I said, 'Well go ahead and get started.' By the time I got here to see the house, they were already gutting the house and pulling the drywall out and I said, 'We've got a long ways to go.'"         

Over the past four months, pieces started falling into place. Organizations stepped in. Now, the Gatz home is almost finished. The family will move in this weekend, but even now a piece of John's focus is on his military family and the message his renovated home might send.

"Helps me spread the word out to the other veterans," he said, "that have bumps in the road -- so to speak -- that there are people that are out there that's going to help you."

That is exactly what Morgan hoped would happen from the start when the community started coming together to help one soldier's family.

"We're trying to lift the spirits of all military, showing them that there are people out there that care," he said.

Service For Peace/Operation Helping Heroes still needed about $3500 to finish the repairs on the Gatz home so the family could live there permanently.  As soon as the story aired on WAVE 3 News at 5:30, Kosair Charities called and said it would donate that money so the Gatz home could be finished.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News.  All rights reserved.

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