Daughter Starts GoFundMe To Help Keep 112-Year-Old WWII Vet Lawrence Brooks in His Home
About a month before her dad's 112th birthday, Vanessa Brooks quietly set up a GoFundMe account, looking for donations to help with his care.
On September 12, Lawrence Brooks, America's oldest living World War II veteran, celebrated his 112th trip around the sun. There were cakes, cards, musical performances, and shoutouts from celebrities. Lawrence smiled and waved from the porch of the residence he's called home for decades.
But, according to his daughter, keeping him in that home has become a significant financial burden.
"Now at the age of 112-years-old he needs your help," Vanessa wrote on the GoFundMe page. "He's been residing at his home in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his sincerest wish is to keep living there. In order to do this, he now needs 24/7 home health care."
"Your donations will guarantee that he is cared for properly and gets through his daily/nightly routines safely," she continued.
Vanessa's friend, New Orleans-based stylist Ali McNally, shared the GoFundMe account on her Instagram Monday. Alongside a photo of herself and Lawrence, McNally provided a little more insight into the Lawrence family's plight.
"Up until this point she has been mainly looking after her father on her own, but she herself is a senior citizen and also works a full-time job," McNally wrote. "Your donations will guarantee that Mr. Brooks is cared for properly and gets to remain in his beloved home."
Born in Norwood, Louisiana, on September 12, 1909, Brooks served in the predominantly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. According to the museum, he was a servant to three white officers in his battalion and attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.
After the war, Brooks worked as a forklift operator before retiring at age 70. He has five children, five stepchildren, 13 grandchildren, and dozens of great-grandchildren. His second wife Leona died shortly after they were evacuated by helicopter following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He's been a widower ever since.
He credits his good health with long walks and chewing gum, a habit he used to replace cigarettes.
Sadly, this isn't the first time ordinary citizens have had to come together to support our country's heroes. Richard Overton, the previous man to hold the title of America's oldest WWII veteran, needed similar financial assistance before his death at the age of 111 in 2018.
You can donate to Lawrence's continued care at GoFundMe.com/f/helpamericasgranddad.
If you are unable to donate, the family asks that you please share his story.