Songs4Soldiers makes holiday bright for veteran

Rose Hausman and her son, Jacob. (submitted photo)

Around the holiday season, kitchens are where families gather, cook and share countless memories.

But if a kitchen isn’t a good space to gather, a home can seem incomplete.

Songs4Soldiers, along with other local help, was able to provide an Alton family the surprise of a lifetime this holiday season: a new kitchen.

At this year’s Songs4Soldiers benefit concert in Columbia, attendees may remember a little boy joining the band Where’s Charlie? on stage to play drums.

That little boy was Jacob Hausman, whose mother is the fifth veteran Songs4Soldiers has honored.

Rose Hausman was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal bile duct cancer and has already beaten doctors’ life expectancies. She was diagnosed in June 2013 and is in stage 4C of the cancer.

Rose has been through 10 months of chemotherapy, and the cancer has spread to her liver and lymph nodes. She started a new form of radiation therapy just before Thanksgiving.

In the early 2000s, Hausman worked in the emergency room caring for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and was also deployed to Guantanamo Bay to address medical needs of detainees from Operation Enduring Freedom.

In mid-November, Songs4Soldiers sent the Hausmans on a Disney cruise and completely remodeled her kitchen, which was cramped and falling apart.

S4S teamed up with several local businesses – including Above and Beyond Design by Marla, Carol House Furniture and Harres Home Furnishings and Appliances – to give Rose and her family the ultimate surprise.

Marla Vogt of Above and Beyond Design said she got involved with helping the Hausmans because she is also a part of the Songs4Soldiers committee.

“I always wanted to incorporate helping people with their cabinetry somehow when I first got involved with Songs4Soldiers,” she said. “I love the TV show ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ and I’ve always wanted to be able to give a kitchen to someone in need.”

Vogt said they knew from the beginning after visiting the Hausmans’ home in Alton that they wanted to help, but had to figure out how to do it with gusto.

“We designed the cabinets with help from the family, but without Rose knowing,” Vogt said.

A group of volunteers worked on the kitchen for several days, including Veterans Day, while the Hausmans were on their cruise, and they came back to something totally new.

“When Rose walked in, she was just amazed and said how much she loved it,” Vogt said. “They were just speechless.”

Vogt said she’s become close with Rose and her family, and attributes Rose’s continued enthusiasm for life to how positive she is.

“She told me one time: ‘I have cancer, but I’ve never let the cancer have me,’” Vogt said. “She’s just inspiring.”

Rose said what Songs4Soldiers and Above and Beyond Design by Marla did for her family was one of the kindest and most incredible things anyone has ever done.

“They made my house a home,” she said. “I’ll never be able to repay them for what they’ve done. We are just so blessed to know them.”

For more information on Songs4Soldiers, which is based in Columbia, visit online at

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