Habitat for Humanity celebrates completion of local veteran’s home



LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Habitat for Humanity La Crosse hosted a dedication and flag raising ceremony to celebrate the completion of a new home for a local veteran. From October 2019, the new “Habitat for Heroes” program paved the way for the construction of the first house.

The Habitat for Heroes program selected Marine Corps veteran Sgt Jacob Klatte and his family as the recipient of the first house. Jacob, his wife Stéphanie and their three sons will be able to live in their own house after having spent several years in renting since he honorably resigned from his post.

Combat lithographer trained in MOS 4612, Sgt Klatte worked in a combat camera unit from 2004 to 2013. He was stationed first in Washington DC, then moved on to another posting in Hawaii. After nine years, he felt it was time to leave the Corps and go with his family.

Time passed as life went on and Jacob eventually found himself volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in La Crosse. It was there that he heard about the new “Habitat for Heroes” program and after discussing it with his wife, they decided to give him a chance, so he applied.

Fast forward and soon after the new home was inaugurated, the pandemic struck. Which, of course, resulted in several delays as volunteers and organizers dealt with COVID-19 social restrictions and limitations for group gatherings. Construction crawled for months until the vaccinations started to take effect and everyone could finally operate with minimal preventative measures.

Construction accelerated quickly as more than 75 veteran volunteers returned to help. The “Heroes” team has accumulated over 1,800 hours of volunteer work during the project. The Klatte family were thrilled to see all the action after such a slow start as expected.

“It’s amazing how quickly we were able to mobilize and get more volunteers,” said Sgt Klatte. “They all came back, they came back in waves”

Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Executive Director Kahya Fox was shocked during her dedication speech. She reflected on how the team overcame so many obstacles and realized how it took so many people to get there.

“We have a list of sponsors for this house that is probably three times as long as the normal constructions we do at Habitat for Humanity,” Fox said. “Because so many people have come together to support our veterans. Fox continued, “It really was a house that was built for a veteran in our community by other veterans.”

Klatte’s gratitude for everyone involved is beyond measure. “There are so many people to thank that I’m not going to try to bother, it’s just,” Klatte said. “All who see this, my family is forever indebted to you and our house will always be a place where we lovingly think of the people who helped build it and we should be here for quite a while.”

According to Habitat for Humanity, after the dedication, the house will be sold to the Klatte family for full appraised value. New owners will pay all property taxes and home insurance. The difference that allows low-income families to make the dream of home ownership come true is that Habitat offers the mortgage at 0% interest.

For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, please visit their website at www.habitatlacrosse.org or call 608-785-2373.


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