NAMPA, Idaho — Lawrence Hewitt is a 91-year-old U.S. Navy veteran. He lives in Nampa, and he grew up here in the Treasure Valley.
“I was born and raised in Caldwell," he said. "I sure have seen a lot of changes here."
Hewitt joined the military as a young man and served in two wars. In total, he spent 23 years serving his country.
Over the summer, Hewitt met Michael Christianson, a local realtor and owner of Idaho Home Realty.
“He's a character number one, and at 91 years of age, he's got some stories and I just immediately took to him right off the bat,” Christianson said.
They met under stressful circumstances but soon became close friends.
“I met Mr. Hewitt because he was basically evicted from his current home,” Christianson said. “I was hired to oversee the evictions and it was one of those deals, and after I met him, I couldn't leave him in a situation that was going to be uncomfortable for him. I wanted to do whatever I could to help him out.”
Hewitt was shocked to find himself in need of a place to live. He was truly worried about where he would end up in this competitive rental market.
“I was paying rent there that I could afford,” he said.
Christianson knocked on doors and worked his magic to find Hewitt a home to buy in Nampa. He helped him with the paperwork to get a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan and gave up his commission on the sale of the house.
“Mike came up with the place here, and I thought I was too old to get a loan,” Hewitt said. “Mike has been a really big help in this situation and I sure appreciate what he's done.”
The house was finally his, but it needed a lot of work, including new paint, carpet, and a roof. It also needed a new front step and paving for safety. Christianson put together a GoFund Me page and got the word out.
“We had a big response from a lot of people from The GoFund me and just the people in the community,” Christianson said.
Local businesses stepped up to pitch in. Suddenly, new paint, carpet, and a new roof were donated or majorly discounted.
“Just the response was overwhelming,” Christianson said.
Hewitt is thrilled with his new home.
“Oh, I like it real well,” he said. “I really appreciate it and I'm happy as a bug in the rug.”
He is also overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.
“It made me feel proud how people in Idaho really go all out for veterans," Hewitt said. "I've seen it done before but I never thought it would happen to me, you know? I'm real proud to be an Idahoan.”
Hewitt already has his flagpole installed out in the front yard of his new home and is flying his American flag with pride.
“I've had it wherever I go, I make sure I put up a flag," he said. "I fought for it and I believe in it. “
Thanks to Michael Christianson and all the generous people and businesses who donated to this project, Hewitt now has the perfect place to call home.
“I just want to say that I'm really grateful,” Hewitt said with a warm smile.
This effort was sponsored by Idaho Home Realty Group (a member of Silvercreek), and Cameron’s Cure Inc, as well as local businesses and community members that contributed to the project:
- Jennifer Sweeney – Executive Assistant to Cameron’s Cure Inc.
- Mike Christianson- Idaho Home Realty, Cameron’s Cure Inc.
- Scott McDaniel - Flagstar Bank
- Samantha Stephenson - Fidelity National Title
- Tice Marty – Boise Home Inspections
- Eric Libby - Ridge Runners Remodeling – Replaced the roof at no cost
- R&S Supply Inc. – Boise ID – Supplied the roofing materials at a 50% discount
- Treg Bernt - L&K Carpet One Inc. – donated all materials and labor
- Joe Richardson – J&J National Inc. – Painter and remodel repair
- Lowes – Donated all the paint
- Rick Griffith – Consulting & Renovation Services – Crawl space Remediation
- Chris Doyle – Big Valley Construction – Concrete front stoop
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