Stacey Threadgill and her husband, Ron

ALTON - Stacey Threadgill and her husband, Ron, have a heartfelt story to tell about the not-for-profit organization Songs4Soldiers, which funded almost $18,000 for them to fix a serious septic issue with the help of Bart Schultz of Schultz Septic Services. Without Songs4Soldiers and Schultz Septic Services, they say they would not have a home.

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“They have a huge story, with huge hearts, and are still small and do not get the recognition they deserve,” Stacey said. “In March of 2022, less than 30 days after moving into our four-year-old home, we found that our entire septic system failed. I received the estimate from Bart Schultz Septic Services out of St. Clair County. He was gracious enough to listen to our story, waived his service call fees, and waived our soil scientist report and findings, as he stated he would pay for them himself, and he did!

“I am a caregiver to my 100 percent disabled husband (retired military and 100-percent service-connected). He also suffers from a neuro brain disease called Behavioral Frontal Dementia, which he was diagnosed with in 2016. There is no cure and no treatment."

Stacey said she completed 303 national veteran program applications and contacted over 46 local politicians, health departments and other local departments and everyone said, "No, we can't help."

"The local Songs4Soldiers organization stepped up and said yes to everything," she said. "Somehow they pulled their funding together and did it.”

Stacey said they worked with the Songs4Soldiers group for about three months on the project.

“Other than and Schultz Septic, I would also like to recognize my caseworker from the V.A. Caregiver Support Program based at the V.A. in St. Louis,” she said. "She was the initial person I contacted, she is the one who got the ball rolling, helping with resources, and contacting S4S.Org. She emailed or called me almost daily to make sure I was OK, emotionally and physically.

"She continued to reassure me that help was out there, and continued to calm me when I began to panic. Because of my husband's FTD, I was the one worrying and stressing, and on the phone day and night for two weeks straight. I put more than 160 hours into this.

“My husband and I, and our adult children just relocated back to the Madison County Illinois area after spending four years in the state of Florida. We just recently purchased a little home in Alton, Illinois located on a little over 2.5 acres and built in 2018.”

Stacey explained their backstory:

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“My husband Ron retired from the United States Air Force in 2010 after serving 24 years. In 2016 at the age of 50, he was working at the V.A. Hospital, and I was mid-career working for the State of Missouri. That same year, he was diagnosed with Behavioral Variant frontal temporal dementia, which is an exceedingly rare brain disease where there is no cure or no treatment. We were told at that time to make end-of-life decisions because the disease was so progressive.

“In 2017, I stepped away and resigned from my position so that I could be a full-time caregiver for him. Also, during that same year, He became 100 percent totally and permanently disabled from the V.A. due to his service-connected disabilities.

“At that time, we felt as though he had an expiration date, so we decided to relocate to the state of Florida at Tyndall Air Force Base where they house retirees, so he could spend his days fishing. Six days after we moved there a category 5 hurricane (Michael) destroyed everything that we had. I was able to pick both of us up and we relocated to Pensacola, Florida.”

She continued: “In the Spring of 2021, I decided that we needed to move back to (home for me) Alton, Illinois, as my parents were aging, and that I needed to care for them as well. At the end of December 2021, we made the trip home and found a house with the help of a childhood friend that was a realtor in the area. In January 2022 our contract, V.A. Loan, appraisal, termite and home inspections were approved. We were so excited to be home and two minutes from my elderly parents in a beautiful, newer home.

“The reason we purchased this home was that it is an open floor plan with overwide doors and a shower for easy wheelchair access when the time comes.”

On February 21, 2022, Stacey said they loaded two 26' U-Haul trucks, five adults and four animals, and began their almost 1,000-mile journey home to Alton.

“The following day, our nightmare started as I witnessed standing sewage water in several places on the property,” she said. “I contacted a septic tank pump company and hired them to pump the tank that was completely full. The realtor nor anyone else involved in this process ever thought once that there was something wrong with the septic tank as it is only four years old, and one person lived on the property prior to us. The septic tank became full again 50 days after the first pump. The tank was pumped, and I hired a soil scientist, and septic inspector to test, evaluate, assess, and estimate the cost.”

The septic tank apparently had multiple cracks that were not fixable and it led to rainwater leaking into the tank. The inspector described it as a “total failure.”

When Schultz Company came out for the repair, Stacey said they worked about 10 hours in scorching hot August conditions. She said she cooked hamburgers for them, otherwise, they may not have taken much time to eat.

Bart Schultz came out two to three times prior to the repair day and was extremely detailed in his plan, Stacey said. "I couldn't have asked for a better company to have fixed the problem."

Stacey and Ron both know without this gift and service by the company, they would have been evicted out of their home.

"We are a family that gives and gives and gives and problem solves for others," Stacey said. "For us to sit back and be in a position where everybody is problem-solving for us doesn’t sit right. We have so much appreciation for the help. Without Songs4Soldiers organization, we don't know where we would be right now."

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