Acts of Kindness
After thieves steal WWII veteran’s wheelchair his community comes to the rescue
94-year-old Gene was devastated when strangers stole his electric wheelchair from outside his home. Then, word got out about it.
Elijah Chan
10.06.21

Veterans face a lot of challenges after their service so it’s heartbreaking to see them being on the receiving end of a crime.

Veterans from the Second World War are fighting one battle after the other. Besides trying to live with PTSD, their lives are also made difficult by age and the illnesses it brings along with it.

Unsplash - Charles Deluvio
Source:
Unsplash - Charles Deluvio

Gene G. is a 94-year-old veteran who served in two theaters. His military career took him to Normandy, then to Southern France, then they returned to the United States. After that, they sailed through the canal, then to Hawaii, and on to the Pacific Theater. He was there when the Philippines was liberated, and finally to the invasion of Okinawa.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

But age was taking a toll on him and he needed equipment to help him move around.

So one can only imagine how depressed he was when his electric wheelchair was stolen right in front of his house. A veteran became a victim of thievery in the very nation he risked his life to protect.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

Mary, his caregiver, explained what she saw in the wake of the crime. She was out to get the morning paper when she noticed that his electric-powered wheelchair was missing on the back of his car. Not only that, the robbers did a “sloppy” job and even damaged the wheelchair lift.

For the aging veteran, it wasn’t just a wheelchair.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

It was his lifeline. It was his only way to interact with his surrounding, participate in his community, commit to check-ups and doctor’s appointments, and go to wherever he wanted with minimal assistance.

It was his way to move around his world, a way to decide for himself, and it was gone.

“It’s my legs, really,” Gene said to KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.

But despite what he had to go through, he was still very grateful that his caregiver is safe.

“If Mary had gone out there while they were here doing it, stealing it,” the veteran said to the news outlet “She could’ve been injured or killed. It’s very scary.”

He added that if Mary didn’t come along, he wouldn’t be here.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

As the news broke out, however, Gene realized that he was never alone. His community rallied around him to raise his spirits and opened a GoFundMe page so they help him buy a new set of wheels.

Help also came from the people who served the country, making Gene feel that veterans look out for another.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

“One of our members saw the news story about him losing his wheelchair,” a representative from the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association shared with FOX 5 Las Vegas, “So her first response was ‘Hey, we need to do something. He’s one of ours.’“

Fifteen of the club’s members rode into Gene’s neighborhood to personally present to him the funds they collected from their organization.

Soon enough, Gene found himself walking into Freedom Medical Supply with a cane. It would be the last time he’d be going to use it.

YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube - FOX5 Las Vegas

He was presented with the same model he previously had, just the way he wanted it.

Finally, after spending two long weeks alone, he can finally and personally thank the community who helped him. First order of business? Wheel around his neighborhood and shake the hands of the good folks who surround him.

YouTube Screenshot - FOX 5 Las Vegas
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - FOX 5 Las Vegas

Watch how this community came together to help a veteran after his wheelchair was stolen in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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