Building hope: Live-It takes on disabled veteran's home in disrepair | News
A disabled East Tennessee veteran will soon walk into a new home thanks to a non-profit group based in Sevier County.
Live-It is a group of churches and citizens that started three years ago to help widows with home repairs. Since then, they have completed 300 repair projects.
When they learned about Jim Ipsen and his wife, Denise, they decided to take on their biggest challenge yet: building an entire house.
"We heard about Jim and Denise from a friend who was very concerned about their situation. And the fact that the home has so many problems," said Terri Danis, Live-It's executive officer.
Their home is in disrepair. It once served as a tractor barn and now is filled with holes in the ceilings and floors. There is not central heat and air conditioning.
"The floor is just uneven and she (Denise) falls quite often. Her back is black and blue right now," said Jim Ipsen.
The couple is struggling with medical problems on top of a tight budget. Denise has suffered four strokes and has difficulty speaking and walking.
Just a few weeks ago, she had a difficult time getting out of bed. But even though the work has not yet begun, she is already showing signs of improvement.
"I just see a complete difference in the couple now that their hope has been restored," Danis said.
"The other day we were just sitting here watching TV and just out of the blue she says, 'We're getting a new house!'" Jim said about his wife. "And she said, 'I'm going to have to learn to mop again!"
It's an ordinary task, that would make some people want to get back in bed, but for the first time in a long time, it's a thought that has Denise up and walking around.
Live-It plans to start demolition on the Ipsen's home on July 31st. It will take them five days to build them a brand new house.
They are still in need of donations and volunteers. If you would like to help, visit their website www.live-itproject.com.