Habitat builds first house for veteran

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Habitat for Humanity is building a brand new house for an Austintown family. They broke ground on the land Saturday morning. The house is not like previous builds. In fact, it is one of the first of its kind for the organization.

James and Laury Skok and their three children helped dig up the first piles of dirt on the property where their new home will soon stand. The house will be number 43 for Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning County.

As soon as the weather breaks, construction will start. It will be the first Habitat house in Austintown, and the first one built specifically for a veteran.

Executive Director Monica Craven said the organization wanted to do more to support area veterans.

“We specifically did some outreach to find families that were veteran families that would be interested in the program,” said Craven. “They still had to meet our income and credit requirements.”

Skok spent 18 years in the Marines and served in the Iraq War. It was his wife, Laury, who found an article about Habitat looking to help veteran families.

“I just happened to read it and drug him on down there and made him sign up,” said Laury Skok.

James is not only a veteran, he also has a disability. He has a metal plate in his spine and is 60 percent disabled.

“You can’t tell the way I look,” said Skok. “The only person that can tell is my wife when I can’t roll out of bed and stuff.”

Habitat is making sure the four bedroom, two bath home meets all of his long-term needs. The house will be handicap accessible and include a one and a half car attached garage.

“It will be great, 88 compliant (ISA 88 compliant building for handicap accessibility) in case he ever has that need,” said Craven.

The Skoks should be able to move in by the end of July.

“You do one good deed and it comes around,” said Skok. What goes around comes around. If it’s not God working this, I don’t know what is.”

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