Community celebrates first tiny
home for veterans with a signing event and groundbreaking
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[April 26, 2021]
This past Saturday, April 24th there was a great deal of activity
going on around Lincoln including a special signing event and a
ground breaking for the first of hopefully several tiny homes for
The tiny homes are being constructed by 2-X-4’s for Hope, an
organization out of Quincy whose goal is to provide housing for all
veterans in need. The tiny homes are a “stick-built” from the ground
up permanent structure. Having the homes offered in Lincoln did
require a special zoning allowance by the city.
Locally, the campaign for tiny homes in Lincoln and Logan County is
being driven by the Central Illinois Veteran’s Commission, a newly
formed organization led by local Veteran Joe Schaler and Veteran
Advocate Marcia Fernandes.
On Saturday morning tents were set up outside RP Lumber on Woodlawn
Road, where the community was invited to stop by, write a message
for the veteran home recipient on two-by-four lumber that will be
used to construct the first tiny home. Throughout the morning a
large number of people stopped by writing messages, signing their
names, and making donations to the 2-X-4 for Hope’s first build in
Among the visitors to the tents was United States Congressman
representing the Illinois District 18 Darin LaHood. LaHood was in
Lincoln for the day, and had started out in the morning at the city
wide clean-up event led by local resident Scott Turner. He then
visited the tents at RP Lumber. After that, he led a meeting of his
Veterans Advisory Committee in Lincoln, then attended the
groundbreaking ceremonies for the first tiny home.
Fernandes noted that there had been a selection of 2-X-4’s taken to
local schools where children decorated the boards and wrote messages
to the veteran who will receive the home. She said there are plans
this week to take the blank pieces of wood to other communities in
the county for additional signing opportunities.
Fernandes also explained that once construction begins, the tiny
home will be completed in eight days. The construction of the home
includes the finished exterior and interior, furnishing, and even
food in the fridge and cabinets. When the key is turned over to the
new owner it will truly be a move-in-ready completed home.
According to Mark Lawrence of 2-X-4’s for Hope, there is a large
demand for the homes that are being built for veterans. While the
application process is still underway for the first home in Lincoln,
there is already a number of applicants seeking to be the first
Just before noon on Saturday the tents at RP Lumber were taken down
and moved to the site of the groundbreaking. They were reassembled
and the pieces of lumber were set out for signing opportunities
prior to the groundbreaking.
The first of the tiny homes in Lincoln will be located on a corner
lot at the intersection of College Street and Sixth Street. It is
reported that there is space on the lot for up to four such homes to
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 1:30 p.m. with those
manning shovels including (left to right) Dan Benedict with the
Logan County Veterans Assistance Commission, Fernandes, Rachel Oney
with the Lincoln Logan County Salvation Army; Haji Patel who has
donated the land for the build, LaHood, city of Lincoln Treasurer
Chuck Conzo, Mayor Tracey Welch, Schaler, Mark Lawrence and his wife
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Lawrence was the first to speak during the groundbreaking. He
thanked all who were in attendance. He noted that the day had
included some very good discussions at LaHood’s late morning
meeting. He said that there are a lot of issues involving veterans,
and he was happy to report that those issues are being addressed,
and he is optimistic that good things are yet to come.
Lawrence acknowledged Schaler, who has been working to bring the
building project to the community. He noted that soil had already
been turned for the building project. He said that some overgrowth
and tree removal on the lot had begun prior to the groundbreaking.
LaHood thanked the Lawrences and 2-X-4 for Hope for recognizing and
addressing a veteran need not just in Logan County but throughout
He also asked that all the veterans be recognized with a round of
applause. He noted that he has raised his children to understand and
appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans who have given so much to
assure the freedoms of his children are not compromised. LaHood
noted that the construction of the home symbolizes a community able
and willing to give back to the veterans who have sacrificed much
for those same freedoms.
LaHood also noted the presence of other state representatives
including Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs
Terry Prince and State Representative Tim Butler. Illinois Senator
Sally Turner was also present and recognized later.
LaHood concluded saying, “We can never do enough for our veterans,
and giving back to them, that is what this day is all about, so full
Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch also addressed the group. Welch noted that
as a veteran himself, he embraced this project full on. He said that
he respected and appreciated what the Lawrences’ are doing, building
homes for veterans throughout the region. All veterans, Welch noted,
“go out there and defend our freedom, and it is our responsibility
when they come home, to make sure that we do what is right for them.
This is an example of that, and we need to continue doing that.”
Schaler spoke last thanking all those who had come. He noted that
getting this project to come together had been a long time coming.
He thanked the 2-X-4’s for Hope and the city of Lincoln for helping
to make the project possible.
The long line of people bearing shovels were then invited to dig in
and bring up a scoop of soil.
The offices of the Central Illinois Veterans Commission (CIVC) are
located at 120 South McLean Street in Lincoln (The Farm Bureau
building), across the hall from the office of Senator Sally Turner.
This evening, Monday, April 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. there will be
an open house at Senator Turner’s office. The CIVC offices will also
be open and anyone who is interested in learning more about the CIVC
or supporting the tiny home project is encouraged to stop in and
speak with Schaler or Fernandes.
CIVC also has a website with a good deal of information about
the commission as well as opportunities to donate to future tiny
home builds online. Applications are also being taken for tiny home