Community Comes Together to Provide America’s Oldest WWII Vet With Much-Needed Home Repairs
This is the American way.
For his 111th birthday, all Richard Overton wanted was to be able to stay in his East Austin home. The home he’s lived in for the past 70 years.
As the country’s oldest WWII veteran, Overton is a true national treasure. So when his neighbors learned he may need to move into assisted living earlier this year, they rallied to keep him in the home he loves so dearly. Over six months, people from all over America have raised nearly 200,000 to help his family provide him with the 24/7 homecare he needs. In case that wasn’t enough, the folks at Meals on Wheels Central Texas Home Repair recently stepped up to renovate his outdated 1940s home.
At Overton’s home, crews are renovating the bathroom to make it more accessible, replacing original wiring from the 1940s, widening doorways, replacing carpet with laminated floors to prevent tripping, and finally installing central heating and air conditioning, KVUE reports.
"Many people know us for our signature meal delivery program, but several years ago we adopted a more holistic approach to our services, and one of the addition services we're offering is home repair," Adam Hauser, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels Central Texas, told KVUE.
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Since 2012, Hauser and his team have repaired 194 homes, totaling upgrades of $2.1 million. It’s these repairs that allow people like Overton to continue living on their own. "I think it’s the best thing for this house to be renovated to bring it back up to code,” Martin Wilford, Overton’s longtime friend, told KVUE. "It’s all a blessing to see the oldest vet get caught up on things that he needs, it’s a necessity.”
All told, the renovations are expected to take two weeks. During that time, Overton will be staying at a local hotel. He says he can’t wait for it to be done so he can get back to sitting on his front porch—a sentiment to which we can relate. "I don't know, I wish they would do it in one hour, but they can't do it,” said Overton. "Be glad when it starts, be glad when it gets through, that's two glads.”
You can donate to Mr. Overton’s continued care here.