On an ordinary street in the heart of Evansville, contractor Scott Smith is working to finish up three houses. Local veterans will soon be moving in.
“It’s a two bedroom, one bath home,” explains Jaimie Sheth. “780 square feet … shotgun style house.”
It’s part of the Home of the Brave program for three honorably discharged veterans. The latest initiative of the JD Sheth Foundation.
“It’s with a priority going to women … because women have barriers that men don’t have especially in the military.”
Meet JD Sheth, or Jaimie:
“I think I realized that I’m here for a finite amount of time,” said Jaimie. “I want to help as many people as I can.”
That epiphany came to Jaimie in 2006 after a trip to India with her mom.
“I got to see where my mom settled and I got to see the way that she grew up.”
Her mother was a Burmese refugee during World War II.
“I saw the little girls that looked like my mom,” Jaimie said. “It just made it real, real to me.”
And she saw the world in a different light. And it stuck with her.
“I saw a lack of infrastructure. A lack of access to clean waters, specifically drinking water. A lack of nutritious food and availability.”
A few years later, she found an opportunity to help build a school in Cambodia.
“In 2008, I funded a school. 2009, I went to go see that school. And I realized, this is what I love to do.”
She saved up for years, took an early retirement and used her nest egg to work full time changing lives across the globe.
“The world is my home.”
So where in the world is JD Sheth?
In Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Guatamala: Building housing for refugee children and homes for families.
“Globally, it’s not very expensive to build a home.”
In Myanmar: Building a boarding home for refugee children and a pig far, a sustainable food source for an orphanage.
“It’s like a drug. … You see it, you experience it, you understand what their lives are like. You have compassion for it, and you just want to help.”
In Haiti, Uganda, Ghana and Ethiopia: Water projects, from filtration systems to wells to storage tanks.
“To give somebody water, which is just a basic need of ours, it’s pretty incredible. I’m not sure I have words for it.”
And in India, where it all began: Orphans get basic necessities every December.
“JD Sheth’s philosophy is that we are one and every life matters.”
Across the globe, and right here at home.
“Evansville is small enough to make real change.”
JD Sheth has completed several projects in southern Indiana, from wheelchair ramps, to food bank air purification systems, to these homes for veterans.
A one woman world wide mission, also at work right here in Evansville.
“My goal in life is to inspire other people to find their passion, because once you have passion for something, you want to go for it and you want to help. So it’s very easy. It drives you.”
The JD Sheth Foundation Home of the Brave houses are set to be handed over to veteran homeowners in April.