During Memorial Day weekend, we gathered with our friends and family to celebrate and remember the many men and woman who have given their lives for our country. While this holiday focuses on those who have sacrificed their lives, there are many veterans who have sacrificed greatly in other ways.
A generous group in Oregon City, Oregon, decided to honor one such veteran.
James “Buddy” Walker is a 93-year-old World War II veteran. He joined the Navy in 1943 when he was only 17 years old, KATU reported.
“My dad said, ‘Buddy you sure you want to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yes, sir. I’m little but I’m tough, and I know they need me,’” Walker told KATU.
Within two years, Walker ended up on the shore of Hiroshima, just five days before the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, Enola Gay, dropped an atomic bomb on the island. Walker didn’t expect to make it out alive.
This is Buddy Walker. I know, #MemorialDay is about honoring veterans who’ve died, but I think Buddy’s story is timely. He’s 93 years old. He tells me when he enlisted at 17, he never thought he’d return home alive. He did. And now, he’s being honored. His story #LiveOnK2 at 4pm. pic.twitter.com/CQJYdT0YsQ
— Genevieve Reaume (@GenevieveReaume) May 27, 2019
“We were going into Japan and [our captain] told us to write home and say goodbye to our families, because we were going to be dead,” Walker said.
While Walker made it out of alive, he has a few scars. Walker is disabled and still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Over seven decades later, Walker has finally been able to settle into the perfect home — a mobile home in the Maple Lane Estates subdivision of Oregon City.
While the property needed a good deal of work, Walker was prepared to fix it up.
“The pipes under the house were brass and they were too small, and had to be replaced,” he said.
While the pipes were able to be replaced, Walker soon found himself faced with a serious and expensive repair on his roof.
Ken Klarfield, president of the Disabled Veterans Motorcycle Club, is also a contractor. He happened to be the person who discovered Walker’s roof needed to be replaced.
“I climbed up on the roof and said ‘oh my goodness this place needs a roof in the worst way,’” Klarfield said.
The roof repair would cost $20,000, which Walker was unable to afford. Klarfield stepped up to help and worked with roofers and other companies to cover the cost of the repair.
Walker is overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the Disabled Veterans Motorcycle Club.
“He just surprised me something awful,” Walker said. “I never thought a thing like this would be possible.”
Walker is more than deserving, and his example of courage and selflessness should be celebrated and recognized.
If you would like to donate to the Disabled Veterans Motorcycle Club, or find out more about their work, visit their website here.
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