From the time he was an adult, Wisconsin native, U. S. Army SPC. Philip Olson’s main focus has been on creating a comfortable life for himself and his family. After bravely serving his country, he and his wife and son are getting a little help with a place to call home.
Olson joined the Army in 2007 at the young age of 20 in order to ease the financial burden his wife, Chenoah and he were in. Shortly after enlisting, Olson was deployed to Afghanistan where he served for nearly a year as an infantry soldier on the front line.
From Hero to Homeowner
During a firefight in his first tour, Olson was shot three times, resulting in nerve damage and a limited range of motion in his right hand. Eventually he returned home, but was left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and migraine headaches.
Olson deployed on his second tour in 2012 and received treatment for injuries sustained as a result of being thrown from a vehicle in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast, which caused temporary loss of feeling in his right leg and chronic back injuries from which he suffers still.
He was honorably discharged in September of 2012 and was recognized shortly thereafter for his commitment to protecting our country, receiving an Afghanistan Campaign medal with two stars, National Defense Security Award, Army Achievement medal and many others.
Today, Olson attends vocational rehabilitation weekly and is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Design. His wife attends the University of Wisconsin where she is majoring in economics. Between their busy work and school schedule, they still find time to make their family — specifically their young son, Jonah — a top priority. The two have dreams of utilizing their skillsets and opening an automotive mechanical shop in the area upon obtaining their degrees.
Of course, one common element of the American Dream is owning your own home. Thanks to an organization called Operation Finally Home and some dedicated Wisconsin companies, that part of the Olson’s dream is coming true.
Supporting Those Who Serve
Earlier this year, it was announced that Wisconsin residents, the Olson family, would be the next to receive a mortgage-free home. Working closely with home developers, contributors and local builder’s associations, nonprofit organization, Operation Finally Home offers disabled military veterans and their families the comfort of home without the stress of monthly payments.
Founded by Air Force veteran and homebuilder Dan Wallrath in 2005, Operation Finally Home has touched the lives of hundreds of families in 33 states across the U.S.
Wallrath realized the need for military heroes to have a place to call home after returning from serving their country.
Now retired, his goal is to direct his efforts towards helping as many of the 900,000 soldiers who have have suffered both physical and psychological battlefield trauma in Afghanistan or Iraq as he can. For Philip Olson and his family, having a mortgage-free home to call their own offers them the fresh start needed in order for Olson to comfortably transition from soldier to civilian.
Industry Partners Join Together for Wisconsin Project
Operation Finally Home works with local builders on each project, and the organization has found an enthusiastic partner in Milwaukee area builder, Belman Homes.
The Olson’s home, which is scheduled for completion in 2017, broke ground in September and will be the third Operation Finally Home project in Wisconsin. It is also the second project to be designed and built by Belman Homes. (Read that story here on our blog)
Company president, David Belman was first introduced to Operation Finally Home by a vendor while at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas.
“At that time, Operation Finally Home was mainly building homes in Texas,” Belman says. “When I heard that the Building Component Manufacturers Conference and Structural Building Components Association wanted to do a project in the area, I jumped in immediately as I was familiar with the cause and had been waiting for an opportunity to bring it to Wisconsin.”
Debuting our involvement with Operation Finally Home, Pella Windows and Doors is excited to give this deserving family a home with some of the best windows and doors on the market.
With American values at the forefront of the company, Pella is proud to support Operation Finally Home, and we are extremely grateful for Philip Olson’s service and all of those who have served to keep our country free.
“For nearly 16 years, we have used Pella windows almost exclusively,” says Belman. “So when we embarked on this project, it was naturally our first choice for the project. We couldn’t be more proud that Pella has decided to help this fantastic cause and support our returning injured veterans.”
Families like the Olson’s aren’t the only ones to receive an award at the end of the building process. Belman believes that his builders and other tradesmen involved in this project receive an equally gratifying gift.
“I have met some very incredible people, formed great friendships, and made a real difference in the lives of veterans,” says Belman. “It has been personally life-changing for me as well.”
For updates on the homebuilding progress, “like” Operation Finally Home Wisconsin’s Facebook page. We will also update you on the status of the Olson’s home here on our website.
Notes of Love
Part of every Operation Finally Home build is a Notes of Love event. People involved with the project as well as friends, family, and future neighbors of the recipients come to the home to write notes of appreciation and support for the family.
It’s a very joyful and emotional time for everyone. View some photos from the Olson family’s recent Notes of Love day below.