Local organizations help Custer veteran replace his well.

June 9, 2022

Local organizations help Custer veteran replace his well.

CUSTER TOWNSHIP — In 2017, Michael Langfeldt noticed the water pressure at his home was decreasing. Eventually his well stopped working and he spent the next five years without running water, unable to pay for a new one. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Langfeldt thought about seeking financial assistance from local veteran resources, but assumed that those services were limited to veterans who had combat experience. 

Langfedlt grew up in Scottville and his family moved to Custer in 1965 where they built the house he currently lives in.  He was in the Navy during the late 1970s and was stationed in San Diego.  He served on a non-combat ship intended for repairs, spending time in Japan, Korea, and Hawaii before returning to Mason County by 1980.  In 1998, after a horrendous storm hit the county, Langfedlt’s family was left with no power for nearly 30 days.  In 2019, medical reasons forced him retire from Ludington hospital’s maintenance department after working there for 33 years. 

During a medical visit at a Veterans Administration (VA) medical clinic, a clinician asked if he had any issues at home. He mentioned his lack of running water.  The clinician made a referral to the Mason County Veterans Affairs office and the process for assistance began.  With the partnership of four local organizations and a request for funding from the State of Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, Langfedlt had running water in less than six months.

“I am so grateful for everyone’s help to get water” Langfeldt said about his experience with the collaborative efforts from the organizations. “Like my grandma always used to say, ‘you never miss the water until the well dries up’, I guess she was right.”

Veterans in the Mason County area should reach out to John Cotton at the Mason County Veteran Affairs office if they are facing any challenges.  This newly formed coalition of organizations has helped several veterans, with a variety of needs resolve some of their biggest hurdles.  The coalition works together to remove barriers that our servicemen and women may be facing.   

Habitat for Humanity of Mason County has partnered up with several veteran organizations to impact those who have served in the Armed Forces.  In 2021, Habitat for Humanity of Mason County directed its focus on home repairs to address basic needs such as running water, heat sources, and major roof concerns.  By the end of 2021, Habitat had partnered up with the Mason County Veterans Endowment Fund, Soldiers & Sailers Relief Fund, HELP Ministries, and the Mason County Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure housing-related requests from veterans could be completed.

Funding for the projects consists of the four organizations contributing what they can and the remaining portion of the project cost is covered by Habitat.  It is Habitat’s policy that homeowners pay 25% of Habitat’s contribution to the project in order to ensure “skin in the game” and help recycle funding into the program, according to Jamie Healy, executive director of Habitat for Humanity.  “In an attempt to keep the veteran’s portion as low as possible, the veteran organizations submit an application to the State of Michigan Veterans Trust Fund to aid in the critical home repair projects,” Healy said.

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