Military Family Gets Help from Habitat for Humanity

By KBJR News 1

November 12, 2011 Updated Nov 12, 2011 at 11:40 PM CDT

Spooner, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - When Greg and Julie Visger built their home ten years ago they had no idea Julie would suffer a series of strokes that would leave them with no option but to physically carry her up and down the stairs.

"They put a lot of work into this house, about ten years ago, to build it. It's their dream home, but accessibility has become and issue a lot earlier than they had anticipated," said Daryl Yankee, Executive Director of Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity.

Brenda Visger, one of three of Greg and Julie's daughters, knows the difficulty all too well. "It's been getting harder and harder each stroke she has."

Greg—a Vietnam veteran in the Army—who repairs and restores automobiles in a garage on the Visger property, is left with roughly five hours a day to work.

That's hardly enough time to provide the families income, let alone build an access ramp to the house for his wife.

"You can't really wheel a wheel a wheelchair down the steps," said Lisa Tijerina, eldest daughter of the Visger family.

That's where Habitat for Humanity—and Holly,another Visger daughter—came in to lend a helping hand.

Holly, who's currently attending University of Wisconsin Superior to be a social worker, has followed in her family's footsteps.

"I followed my dad around in the garage and handed him tools and stuff when I was younger. Now I'm a mechanic in the Army National Guard out of Hayward," said Visger.

A few weeks ago Holly started speaking with Daryl, and soon plans to build an access ramp and deck to the side of the Visger household began unfolding.

"Daryl talked to me, and he's like, 'I can't guarantee it, but I'll see what we can do.' They're just amazing, because they just got this going within two to three weeks and it's already being built," said Visger.

By Saturday a volunteer team was assembled, consisting of everyone from family and friends, to Habitat for Humanity volunteers, to Army National Guard members.

When the project is finished, Julie will be able to access the house with ease, along with enjoy the simple things that can be so easily taken for granted.

"She's going to have more freedom. She can actually go outside. She can sit and enjoy the weather," said Tijerina.

"I'm very grateful because I do take care of her during the day everyday, and she gets bored and lonely and we like to go shopping and do things together," said Brenda Visger.

And, of course, the Visger family cannot say 'thank you' enough to those who've lended a helping hand.

"I just want to thank Habitat for Humanity for coming out and making this possible," said Tijerina.

"I want to say thank you for everybody that showed up and volunteered their time, and I appreciate everything they're doing for us," said Greg Visger.