Gulf War veteran Travis Parsons received a gift of a lifetime during the holiday season. Through help from Weber State University and Habitat for Humanity, students in the engineering and technology fields designed two homes for Parsons and his family.
Parsons told the Standard-Examiner that he has been in the military or the construction field most of his life and has contributed to the construction of hundreds of homes over the last 35 years working for Habitat for Humanity.
“If you would have asked me ten years ago if I would have ever been on the other side as a recipient of a Habitat for Humanity house, I would have sworn up and down no,” Parsons said.
Parsons, who currently lives in a trailer with his two service dogs, is enrolled in the Design Engineering and Technology program at Weber State.
Having the ability to start a new way of life in a different residence continues a major turnaround for Parsons, who admitted he was at a crossroads two years ago.
“I was withdrawn. All I did was go to work, come home, eat and wait to die,” Parsons said.
Parsons stated that making connections with others has also contributed to his unexpected change.
“I’m at school, I’m a veteran student. I’m shaking hands with people, talking to people and I have a lot of people that have become friends,” Parsons said.
This project has not come without challenges for Habitat for Humanity. In September, thieves broke into a trailer and stole $6,000 worth of construction tools. Three months later, several ladders and planks were stolen as well.
Despite the challenges presented, Habitat for Humanity and Weber State students and staff worked together to ensure Parsons’ home would be completed.
“Our partnership with WSU has been invaluable,” said Jeannie Gamble, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Weber and Davis Counties. “The students, faculty and staff who have supported us on the build sites by designing our homes or helping with our repair projects have impacted both our clients and our organization in ways we cannot even explain.”
Parsons expressed gratitude for everyone involved.
“I just cannot believe that this is true,” Parsons said. “I am getting a new house. Seems too good to be true. Sometimes dreams happen.”