Local volunteers help World War II veteran with home improvements

Updated: July 19, 2019 06:58 PM

The heat didn’t stop more than 20 volunteers from helping a World War II veteran restore his home.

Hearts & Hammers - Twin Cities, which was started in 1997, provides free exterior home improvement assistance for qualifying local senior citizens, disabled adults and veterans.


Elmer Boettcher, 97, built his own West Saint Paul home in 1949 after serving in World War II.

Now, 70 years later, Hearts & Hammers, along with volunteers from Humana, are giving Elmer a hand with improvements like painting and landscaping.

“It’s just great. It’s beyond belief really … It’s a really good deal,” said Boettcher.

This year, Hearts & Hammers will help restore about 55 homes across the Twin Cities.

“Housing is so important and knowing that these are people’s forever homes, and they want to stay here, but they don't have either the financial or physical needs to be able to take care of it anymore, so being able to be a part of something where you get so many great volunteers that come out each year and are so passionate knowing that the community still cares,” said Randi Prebil, executive director of Hearts & Hammers.

“We wanted to come out and honor this veteran and try to help him, and it’s a way for us to give back and be a good neighbor in the communities that we serve,” said Jan Mudd, sales director of Humana Minnesota.

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Ashley Zilka

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