Madisonville man building tiny home community for veterans

Franklin hopes to build 15 tiny homes for disabled and homeless veterans.

MADISONVILLE (WATE) – A Madisonville man is building a tiny home community for veterans with help from volunteers.

Willie Franklin started an organization called “A Home 4 Hero’s” to help homeless and disabled veterans. The first house is almost done, waiting for his first veteran. It was built by a youth group at Chestua Baptist Church.

This little home was perfect for Joe Ledbetter. However, it may seem small for most.

“I’ve lived in smaller places. Let me put it that way,” joked Ledbetter.

The memories were too difficult to share. It was that painful past that brought the Marine Corps veteran to Madisonville with Franklin.

Franklin had a dream to build a home for heroes. His friend, Kent, who was also a veteran, inspired him to honor that sacrifice. Kent recently passed away.

“I don’t feel like anybody who went and put their life on the line for me should have to sleep in a cardboard box,” Franklin said.

Franklin’s faith called him to build 15 tiny homes. He hopes to create a community for disabled and homeless veterans.

“God has been in this thing the whole time and he hasn’t taken his hand off of us yet,” Franklin said.

Franklin started a singing competition called “Tennessee Idol” to fund the project. The competition travels to different counties.

People who want to compete pay an and ticket go toward funding the tiny homes.

Frankin said each home costs more than $10,000. They raise a little over $2,500 during each “Tennessee Idol” stop.

Franklin hopes to move Ledbetter’s home in the next few weeks to the property in Greenback. That is where he plans to have the tiny home community completed by March.

Ledbetter wants to complete this project with Franklin. He said it’s his opportunity to help others especially veterans struggling with suicide.

“I needed help at one point really bad and I got that help and that is why I am still here today,” Ledbetter said.

“Tennessee Idol” will come to Knox County on June 23rd. It will be held at Back Porch on the Creek.

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