Posted: May 10, 2012 8:56 AM by Laura Wilson (KAJ News)
Updated: May 10, 2012 9:00 AM
SOMERS- Somers and Lakeside residents have donated over $30,000 over the last year to help build a new house for a wounded Somers soldier and his family.
But tragedy struck just weeks before they planned to move in, when 29-year-old Kevin White passed away in his sleep in April.
Now thanks to family and the kindness of residents across Montana, White's wife and son are making plans to move forward and reporter Laura Wilson had the chance to take a tour.
Kevin and Juliane White spent months dreaming about the day they'd get to move into their new home on Ramer Creek Road.
Not once did Juliane imagine she'd have to make that move without her husband.
"It's definitely emotional. This was supposed to be our home that we lived in for the rest of our lives and I thought we would be together for the next 50 years. I never thought this would happen to us," Juliane told us.
But luckily, Juliane didn't have to make the move all by herself.
"You wish you could do more than just move boxes and help and set up and be here. But that's all you can do, and we'll continue to be here for her," Juliane's sister Jessica Green commented.
Juliane quickly found out after her husband's death that she also has the support of an entire Montana community.
"So many people have been so kind with letters from all over the state and even out of the state. We've received donations and there was even one very nice woman from Columbia Falls who made blankets for Liam and I," she recalled.
"We've gotten beautiful notes and cards from all over the state of Montana and some places in Texas and Pennsylvania," added Anne Green, Juliane's mother.
Juliane says the move has been bittersweet, but knows it's what Kevin would have wanted for her and their 18-month-old son Liam.
"I feel like we've accomplished something for Kevin and Juliane and especially Liam. We're just all glad to see it come together," OT Green added.
"He was very special. We loved Kevin like a son. It's heartbreaking, but we've got to keep going, because we have two people to think about," Ann said.
Kevin's family says even though he's no longer with them his presence can be felt everywhere in the home.
"A lot of Kevin is in here. His ideas and things that he wanted. It was just a lot of Kevin in the house. I feel like we've accomplished something for Kevin and Juliane and especially Liam. We're just glad to see it all come together," observed OT.
"After I get past this grief stage, I'll always look back on the happy times and have happy memories of this house that we built together," Juliane concluded.
She plans to hang Kevin's pictures and U.S. Army awards up so that her son can grow up knowing his father is a big part of their home.
Anyone who is interested in donating to the White family can do so thanks to an account that is set up at Flathead Bank in Lakeside under "Kevin White Housing Fund."