SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KTVU) - Though delayed by recent big rains, the Veteran's Village of tiny homes in Santa Rosa was dedicated today with military honors. Despite weather delays, the project will open on time next month.
The John Zane/Micheal Wolff Veterans Village is named after two Sonoma County veterans of different eras.
The first: World War II Marine combat pilot, John Zane, winner of the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross. His daughter, Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who helped create the village, accepted on her deceased father's behalf.
"First of all, I want to say I'm so humbled. Thank you for dedicating this,” said Shirlee Zane. “To Michael and Michael, you would have loved my dad.”
The other honoree, Iraq combat veteran Michael Wolff. He’s the owner of Wolff Contracting and they donated a lot of time, labor, material and money. But spent all of his time Friday thanking the many folks and firms that made it possible.
"I have an amazing staff and I have asked so much of them. All this recognition is so nice, but really, I almost feel guilty taking it because I could not have done this without so many people who stepped up to help me," said Wolff.
Through subtle tears, Wollf gave special thanks for what his wife had to do: "Take care of our two kids, kept the house clean and food on the table and somehow everything running while I put in the hours that I have right alongside my staff."
Soon, homeless veterans will move from the street and shelters into these homes. "You got guys overseas doing things that you wouldn't ask anybody to do. You bring them back and send them on the streets and say, ‘Here, survive.’
“Eight months ago, I came off the streets. I was living under a bridge -- literally built a house down by the river," said homeless Navy veteran Jeffrey Lawrence.
Lawrence, who volunteered to help build the village, will be first in and so grateful to move from a homeless shelter. "I can’t measure that – immeasurable. It a gift. You've just got to enjoy it, appreciate it," said Lawrence.
Gary Broderick's Lake County rental home was sold, leaving him six months homeless now.
"I'm really looking forward to it. I love these little places. They're great," said Broderick.
While the Veterans Village will give Broderick a community, his heart is broken. "I just lost my wife last March and it's been hard,” he said.
Soon, the he’ll no longer be homeless or alone.