Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity and Dry Hootch have joined forces to launch Veterans Volunteer Corps (VVC), an international Habitat initiative to provide veterans and military service members with affordable housing while strengthening the community.
A group gathered in Washington Park recently to kick off the new partnership. Speakers included Jason Moon, founder of Warrior Songs, who shared the importance of programs such as VVC for returning veterans who may struggle with life after war. Warrior Songs is a nonprofit organization working to heal veterans through the creative arts, such as poetry and music.
Volunteer construction teams painted the interior of two homes, one on 40th Street, between West Garfield Avenue and West North Avenue, and the other on 39th Street. The father of one of the homeowners is a veteran and will be moving into the house once it is complete.
Many of the homes built by VVC will be for qualifying veterans, said Jackie Sitkowski, volunteer services coordinator at Habitat. Some VVC participants are applying for the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC), an alternative for NROTC or Officer Candidates School for college students who wish to become commissioned. The work will count toward service hours and demonstrate their community leadership.
“As a Marine Corps officer that’s what you do, you serve your country and community. So my philosophy is that if that’s what you’re going to be doing, you should start practicing that now,” said John Walton, 20, who has applied for PLC.
Dry Hootch is a Milwaukee-based coffee house and support organization for veterans and returning soldiers with locations in Milwaukee and Madison.