Combat Wounded WWII Veteran Receives New Roof, Thanks to Kindhearted Citizens
INVERNESS (CITRUS) – As people of all races, creeds, and color come together to help those in need in the aftermath Hurricane Harvey, closer to home, a group of kindhearted citizens spent last week helping a World War II Veteran stay dry, after living with near deplorable conditions for years.
Patti Willard contacted RNRF after she and her husband were called to help an elderly man with some plumbing issues inside his home on S. Placid Ave. Patti soon discovered that 91-year-old George Johannes was not only a WWII Veteran but that he was the recipient of two Purple Hearts.
While getting to know George, she discovered that his home was cluttered with boxes and memorabilia that filled nearly every room and hallway. She also found several leaks in the ceiling and soon determined that the entire roof needed to be replaced. That’s’ when Patti says she reached out to the local Home Depot, who offered to grant $5,000 towards a news roof, as long as she worked through a local non-profit. And who better to help a fellow Veteran than the soldiers, sailors, and airmen of VFW Post 4337.
Post Commander Bob Sprute, fellow post member John Lowe, and Citrus Eagles President, Roger Langley, all organized the project and hired a roofing company, who wished to remain anonymous, to complete the project.Wearing his combat wounded Purple Heart hat and several medals, George told harrowing stories of hand-to-hand combat with enemy soldiers, during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. George was only 16 when he entered the Marines and when another reporter asked why he lied about his age to join the Marines, George replied, “Because I wanted to get in the damn fight!” And George has plenty of scars to show for his heroic service. During the battle, George says he was stabbed in the back, stuck several times with a bayonet, and lost part of his foot, due to an explosion. But to this day George still walks around on both feet, with only the help of a cane or arm in arm with one of his new-found friends.
When asked what he thought about all those who helped provide him with a new roof, in a loud voice he said, “They’re Angels… With BIG wings.”
Patti says she still has a lot of work to do and it doesn’t look like she’ll be leaving George’s side anytime soon.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.