Veterans help rebuild home, life of Kirkland father

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 11, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 11 at 6:35 PM

KIRKLAND, WA. -- Four years ago, Leo Milkin was serving his country in Iraq when a deranged man started another war in his home.  But Thursday, friends and volunteers laid the foundation for a new life by building Milkin a new home.

In 2006, Conner Schierman killed Milkin's wife, two children and sister-in-law and burned the house down to cover up the crime. 

"It was like a nuclear bomb went off when I found out," says Milkin.  "I was devastated." 

On Veterans Day, the finishing touches were completed on a new house for Milkin, built in the same spot as his old house. Part of the work was done by members of Milkin's National Guard battalion. 

"What he went through and how he handled it is incredible," says guardsman Mica Kluth.  "He gives hope to everyone. I'm proud to be here."

Dozens of of people filled the home's front yard, landscaping, building sidewalks and building a memorial gazebo for Milkin's lost loved ones. 

"Their deaths can't be the end of this story. There is more to it. I owe it to them to honor my family here," says Milkin.

Dozens of companies donated their time and services to build the home, headed by CDK Construction Services. Joe Cantwell of CDK, a veteran of the Navy's Seabees, choked back tears as he watched the work around him. 

"There is no bond like that between veterans. We would lay our lives down for one another. We're there for each other no matter what." 

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