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Sofas for Service helps a veteran who formerly lived in a cave near the Eau Claire River

Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Many of you are at home sitting on a couch, or chair in your living room. Volunteers for Sofas for Service say it’s easy to take those basic things for granted until you don’t have them anymore.

Sofas for Service is a nonprofit organization that has helped over 175 veterans. And Saturday morning they made an extremely emotional delivery, to a very deserving man.

Jack T. Schneider, a volunteer and veteran, told WEAU,

“There are programs out there that will provide you with a roof and walls and a floor and that’s it. Some people find themselves sitting in an empty building for weeks and months and nobody knows it”.

Days ago, Scott Chase didn’t even have a home. Chase is a veteran who has been living in a cave along the Eau Claire River for seven months.

“I want to cry. It’s been very difficult,” said Chase.

Friday night he got the keys to his new home on the South side of Eau Claire.

“With the VA and the county coming together, and Clear Water Reality being so understanding of my situation and getting me in here as soon as possible … I’ve been homeless for a very long time... Home is a nice word to say when you can call it your own,” Chase told WEAU.

Chase had no furniture so he slept on the floor. But he says he still didn’t sleep well. He was too excited for what was to come the next morning

Pete Hestekin the Founder and President of Sofas for Service said,

“Sofas for Service is a veterans assistance program where we get needy veterans back on their feet when they’ve been placed in subsidized housing”.

Now that chase has his own home, filled with furniture, he says he can get back to health, and even back to work.

“It reduces my stress. My anxiety is off the charts. They diagnosed me with PTSD in November so that will lessen a bit… I haven’t had a lot of things go my way, but this is really big. I still don’t believe it’s real. I’m very thankful and grateful. Thank you god and thank you everyone who helped,” said Chase.

Sofas for Service says they have helped 27 veterans in need through the month of July, and they're just getting into some very busy times.

But just like many others.. They took a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We were not able to have our fundraiser this spring which normally brings in 9 to 10 thousand dollars.. So we are experiencing quite a budget shortfall," said Hestekin.

The nonprofit has a goal to raise $5,000 by Veterans Day in November, so that they can continue to help people like Scott Chase.

“What a blessing, I’m just overwhelmed. It’s one of the great things in this country when organizations like this can help,” said Chase.

Along with furniture, supplies and donations, Sofas for Service also says they’re in need of volunteers.

Hestekin told WEAU,

“We could use some labor too! If you’ve got the mind to help move furniture or working in the warehouse”.

The nonprofit is in need of many different donations. Information on how to help sofas for service meet their goal, or how to donate gently used items to the nonprofit go to https://sofasforservice.com/ or visit their Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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