Family receives new home at state fair
By Jane Myhra
Purple Heart veteran Drew Wroblewski and his wife Katelyn received a surprise at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Operation Finally Home Wisconsin presented them with a new home.
Their parents are Lisa and Gerard Wroblewski and Karen and Ken Wavruk, of Iola.
Katelyn is a 2008 graduate of Iola-Scandinavia High School.
Drew, a wounded Iraq veteran, is a graduate of Pacelli High School. In May 2013, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The couple now live in Menomonee Falls, where they recently moved to pursue a career with Drew’s current employer, Gavin de Becker & Associates.
Prior to the presentation on Aug. 16, the couple thought they were part of a military appreciation event at the state fair. They were shocked to learn they had been chosen to receive a mortgage-free, custom-built house through Operation Finally Home.
Wroblewski, a sergeant, retired from the U.S. Army in 2008 due to post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries. He is now employed at a private security firm.
The news brought tears to their eyes.
“Probably the first time I’ve cried in a long time, I mean long, long time. So it’s awesome, it’s awesome,” Wroblewski told WISN in Milwaukee.
Katelyn was left speechless.
“Words cannot explain how I feel right now,” she said. “I’m just excited and very appreciative.”
“They are such a wonderful couple – true heroes who have sacrificed so much to defend our country,” said Molly Halliday, vice president marketing, Operation Finally Home.
Wroblewski is a decorated veteran with a number of accolades, including a Purple Heart, an Army Commendation Medal and an Army Good Conduct Medal.
During his time in service, Wroblewski served on a deployment to Iraq in September 2005.
On Nov. 29, 2005, while in the gunner position providing rear security during a combat patrol, the vehicle Wroblewski was in came around a corner and suddenly was engulfed in flames from a shaped charge explosion.
As result of the incident as well as encounters with hundreds of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and countless high stress situations while in service, Wroblewski suffers from post-traumatic migraines and tension, tinnitus, cranial nerve impingement and more.
The Wroblewski home is one of two being built in the Cranberry Creek Subdivision of Jackson. A part of a larger project, this will be one of the first homes completed by Operation Finally Home in partnership with local builders Belman Homes, Inc. and Tim O’Brien Homes.
Both homebuilders will lead the project for the Wroblewski family. The lots have been provided by Neumann Companies.
Construction is set to begin in September.
“Drew and his wife have been through tough times during their time of service, so it’s a true honor to be granted this opportunity to repay such a deserving hero,” said David Belman, president of Belman Homes. “On behalf of Belman Homes and all of our supporters, we’re eager to provide this family not just a house, but a home – a haven that will give them security and allow them to work toward a brighter future.”
“We are honored to be working with such a wonderful group of supporters that have allowed us to extend our appreciation for our heroes to the state of Wisconsin,” said Rusty Carroll, executive director of Operation Finally Home.
Operation Finally Home is a national, nonprofit organization with a network of builders, suppliers and supporters dedicated to building homes for wounded, ill or injured veterans, surviving spouses and their families.
They bring together homebuilders, the military and communities to build custom mortgage-free homes for America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen.
For more information, visit OperationFinallyHome.org.
Information for this article was provided by Operation Finally Home Wisconsin and the Wavruk-Wroblewski family.