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Nov 11, 2015 6:09 PM

Veterans help build home in Rochester for fellow vet, family in need

ROCHESTER - Veterans were helping to build a home this Veteran's Day - for a fellow veteran.

Wednesday's poor weather didn't stop about a dozen men and women, many of them former service members, from donating their time and effort to Habitat for Humanity.

The organization recently chose a family of 6 to call one of the units their new home.

“It’s kind of a neat thing being able to help those that have served and actually given a good portion of their life for our country," said Construction Manager Douglas Gregory.

Gregory said it was this Habitat chapter's first build for a veteran.

Construction continues 2 days per week. This week, teams were assisted by members of Team Rubicon, a veteran service organization.

“It’s time for me to give back, so I’m giving back," said 76-year-old volunteer Paul Lagarde.

Lagarde, who said he served in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Putnam, has helped build homes for those in need for 24 years. This project, however, is even more special because it's for a fellow vet.

“That’s humongous," Lagarde said. "That’s really great. It’s very heartwarming.”

Matthew and Rachel Nickerson will soon move into the home with their 4 young children, 3 girls and 1 boy, once it is completed.

Rachel Nickerson said her husband, an Army veteran, wasn't able to stop by to see the status of his new home because he was working to support his family today – even on Veteran’s Day.

“He was stationed down in the D.C. area during 9/11," Rachel Nickerson said. "His unit did the recovery for the Pentagon.”

The Nickerson family has moved 15 times over the past 15 years, and times have been difficult. But this move, they say, will be a blessing.

For the first time, their son Levi won't have to share a room with his sisters.

“He’s going to have a superhero room," Nickerson said. "To have a place where we can settle down and have roots and be a family and grow together, it’s just – it’s huge.”

Hundreds of hours of construction labor and thousands of dollars in supplies have been donated.

Crews hope to have the new home completed by next summer.

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