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Mother of fallen Marine gets new home

October 3, 2008 5:29:30 PM PDT
It was a special day for the mom of a suburban Marine who was killed in Iraq.After his death, she asked if someone could help repair the roof of her home. Local businesses, friends, neighbors and state organizations did a lot more. They built her a new house.

Lori Fraher's new home was ready, and there was joy on Waupansie Street. It's a joy borne of tragedy.

Seventeen months ago, Fraher's son, Marine Lance Corporal Ray Holzhauer, was killed in Iraq. When asked then what help she might use, Fraher told local tradesmen the roof on her old house was in need of care. But they found that the whole house was in very bad shape. They chose to take it down, and build Fraher a new house.

"The community, the veterans, stepped up as did the building trades. This was our mom. Now, she lost one son, but gained a thousand more. That's the way it should be," said Mike Yauger, Teamsters Local 786.

Carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters and electricians all joined in, as did veterans, through a Teamster-backed program called Helmets to Hard Hats.

"I feel like it's an honor to give something back," said veteran Ryan Francis.

Even before the house began to take shape, merchants were lining up, eager to help out.

"They couldn't wait to donate. They kept asking, 'What can we do? What else do you need?'" said Ken Ballenger, Regional Council of Carpenters.

All of the appliances, all of the fixtures and everything was donated. Fraher was, at first, reluctant to part with her old house despite its condition. It was, after all, where she raised her son. But, the new house, she says, feels like home.

"There's a lot of generosity. Sometimes, it's hidden away a bit. Sometimes we get caught up in our own busy lives, but this warms the heart. It's awesome they still want to help," Fraher said.

Fraher has a new flag that flew over the Capitol. It'll now fly in front of her new house. And as they remembered and honored a young man gone on Waupansie Street Friday, they celebrated the generosity of the human spirit.

Three hundred businesses and individuals contributed their time, talent, money and materials to help build the home.


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