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Wilhelm ACTS helping build home for Anderson soldier

Tim Senkowski has sacrificed a lot for his country. In Afghanistan two years ago, Senkowski, an Army infantryman, lost both legs and suffered other injuries in a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) planted roadside. A close friend only a few steps ahead of Senkowski was killed.

A year-and-a-half of painful physical and emotional rehabilitation followed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Senkowski is back in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana beginning life again with his wife, Erica, and their two children.

Housing is a big need; right now, the four Senkowskis (and one on the way) live in Tim’s mother’s house. This living arrangement relocates his mother, her husband and two other children to their garage.

Enter The Path Home. This organization raises money to assist veterans with food, rent, mortgage payments, house and car repairs, and other necessities, although, it hadn’t built a home until now.

The Path Home recruited F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company. Wilhelm’s Brian Keith says, “We couldn’t pass up this opportunity to help a deserving veteran. A lot of people are pitching in.”

Ricker’s gas station paid for the housing lot through customer donations at its stores. The other organizations helping with this project include:

•  Axis Architecture + Interiors
 Local 440 United Assoc. of Plumbers Pipefitters & HVAC Technicians
•  Central and Northern Indiana Building Trades Associations
•  Top Notch
•  Betts Engineering and Contracting
•  Home Depot
•  The Indiana Blue Star
•  The Blue Star Mothers

The Path Home board member Bob Luenebrink says, “We can’t say enough about Wilhelm Construction, all the Union trades and everyone else who is helping.”

The home will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Work is beginning now and ready for move-in after the first of 2014. It will be next door to Senkowski’s mother, Tamra Rigdon.

Rigdon says, “The Path Home is building a home for Tim that has features that will make life easier. He will be able to move around. The new home will allow Tim to live on his own, and with us right next door, we can assist in their daily living needs.”

Rigdon is a therapist and caregiver who has worked at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis and the Lifeline Youth & Family Organization in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She left work to devote her full-time attention to Tim’s rehabilitation at Walter Reed.

The couple has further challenges. Erica is partially disabled from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Their son, Dusty, suffers from autism. Rigdon says the new home will help all concerned live a normal family life.

Luenebrink says while Senkowski sacrifices every day, The Path work on Tim’s house will only last about a year.

Senkowski continues his long recovery, mostly at the VA Hospital in Muncie, Indiana. Rigdon reports Tim is much better since coming home, though he misses his friends in the military and looks forward to their safe return.

Senkowski, 30, is looking ahead. He wants to go back to school at Lincoln College of Technology. Rigdon says, “He is so excited. He wants to work on cars and get back into drafting.”

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