Soldier whose house burned down finds new place to call home

CREATED Jan 23, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 23, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - After serving in Afghanistan Derek Wensel was excited to come home, but the day he returned, his house burned down.  Now he has a new place to call home.

"It will be nice to finally have a place to call home," Derek Wensel.
 
It was Christmas Eve, and Wensel and the rest of the 372nd Engineer Company had just returned from a 7 month tour in Afghanistan.  Wensel's dad told him their home burned down that morning.
 
"It was unreal to me.  This whole time I've kind of been in a daze because I really haven't been able to go home home," Wensel said.
 
After living in a hotel for a month, the family finally moved into their new house.
 
"I'm ready to finally unpack," Wensel said.
 
Wensel's dad tells me they couldn't have done it without the community's support. 
 
"Even the phone calls, saying how can I help, what can I do.  It's been overwhelming," said Don Hannemann.
 
They know there's work to do on this 120 year-old home, but at least they now have a place to call home.
 
The family is planning on living here for a few years, but they tell me their ultimate goal is still to rebuild.