Columbia, Mo. - South Pinebrook Lane bustled with activity as weeks of hard work came to a beautiful end. Andrew Bappe, a veteran and recent cancer survivor, and his family moved into a new home purchased and renovated by Veterans United Foundation.
“It’s like winning the lottery,” Andrew said. “You can’t just soak it in all at once. This will affect my family for years and years.”
The Bappe family experienced tremendous loss and pain in the past year. Andrew was diagnosed in September 2012 with stage four tongue cancer. He endured extreme treatment to eradicate the cancer from his body. Four months later, his wife, Nicki, passed away after a 17-year battle with chronic lung disease.
In addition to the emotional anguish, the family racked up considerable medical bills and debt.
The Foundation discovered the need when a local teacher told a VU employee about the family’s situation.
“Drew was left drowning in debt because of all the medical expenses, time away from work and raising two teenagers,” said Megan Sievers, director of the Foundation. “It just wasn’t fair. This man served our nation in the Marine Corps, devoted his life to his wife and kids and is a member in our local community in need of support. We knew we had to do something to impact this family’s life.”
Veterans United employees and their foundation decided to buy and renovate a home for the Bappes to live in mortgage-free. Over fifty employees volunteered their time to paint the house and move the Bappes in.
“VU has permanently altered the course of our lives,” Andrew said. “It’s unbelievable.”
The experience has touched Bappe deeply enough to make him rethink his career goal to become a teacher. When he finishes his degree, he hopes to work for Veterans United.
“It will be my turn to try and give a little back,” he said.