MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (CBS 58) — The Frewerd family thought they were getting a tour of the Tri-County YMCA, instead Operation Finally Home surprised US Army Specialist Jesse Frewerd, his wife Katie, and young child Dean with a mortgage-free home in Menomonee Falls Saturday . The home will be built by Belman Homes.
Morning anchor Mike Curkov emceed the event with local community leaders as the group welcomed the Frewerd family. Frewerd joined the military after 9/11 and was serving in Iraq when the vehicle he was in was hit with an IED. He suffered traumatic brain injury and PTSD as a result of his service, both of which still affects him today.
The Frewerd family will live in the 7th Operation Finally Home house built in Wisconsin.
US Army Specialist Jesse Frewerd
US Army Specialist Jesse Frewerd of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, enlisted in the US Army before he’d ever graduated from high school. Just 19 years old and fueled by a desire to serve his country after the events of 9/11, Frewerd began his military career as a cavalry scout. In 2003, Frewerd and his unit were deployed to Iraq, where he served on active duty for more than a year.
While on a routine mounted patrol during his deployment, Frewerd and members of his unit were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath their vehicle. The blast lifted the vehicle off the ground, shattered the windshield and popped the tires. Although the IED did not cause any fatalities, Frewerd, who was manning the gun, hit his head, suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and perforating his ear drum. Shaken and injured, Frewerd and his team still managed to apprehend two suspects before leaving the area.
Frewerd participated in a number of raids while deployed, helping to recover weapons and other contraband items. In addition, he completed more than 200 escorts while serving as the Assistant Supply Sergeant attached to an operations group. During this time, Frewerd identified several IEDs before they were detonated, ensuring the safety of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Iraq’s transitional government.
As a result of his service, Frewerd suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He also lives with the effects of TBI, which includes migraines, as well as the pain and discomfort caused by injuries to his spine and back. He was honorably discharged in 2005.
Frewerd has been honored with a number of awards in recognition of his service. These include two Army Commendation Medals, an Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.
Frewerd and his wife, Katie, recently welcomed their first child, a son. Frewerd is also the father of a teenage daughter. Both Frewerd and Katie are currently pursuing master’s degrees—Frewerd, an MBA, and Katie, a master’s in administrative leadership. Frewerd currently works as a veteran counselor with the Wisconsin State Veteran Agency, helping fellow veterans access disability compensation.
As part of his own personal healing, Frewerd continues to volunteer with several veteran organizations, such as Team RWB and Guitars for Vets. As a singer-songwriter, Frewerd also finds hope and healing in music. He and Katie, also a musician, often write and perform together.
About Belman Homes | Belman Homes vision is “Creating the ultimate building experience, one customer at a time.”® Lead by industry leader and second-generation homebuilder, David Belman, their commitment to this vision has led them to win major industry awards such as “Metropolitan Builders Association Builder of the Year in 2017” and “Wisconsin Builders Association Builder of the Year in 2022” in addition to many other accolades in recent years. Located in Waukesha, this custom homebuilder, REALTOR®, and land developer takes pride in their hand-finished stick-built homes using their loyal team of craftsmen for over 35 years. For more information, please contact Belman Homes at (262) 544-4648 or visit: www.belmanhomes.com.
About Operation Finally Home | Based in New Braunfels, Texas, Operation Finally Home is a nonpartisan/nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to provide custom-built, mortgage-free homes, transitional housing and home modifications to veterans, first responders and their families. . Established in 2005, the organization has completed or is in planning on more than 380 home projects in more than 32 states and just celebrated its 200th dedication. Operation Finally Home partners with corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, remodelers, developers, individual contributors and volunteers to help these heroes and their families by addressing one of their most pressing needs – a place to call home. For more information about Operation Finally Home, visit OperationFinallyHome.org, follow @OpFinallyHome on Twitter and find us on Facebook.