Dignity is a difficult thing to maintain as you age. It’s particularly challenging if you’re fighting the debilitating effects of age.
Older veterans once faced bullets and blood. As the years roll by, though, they find themselves struggling with ordinary tasks, a much more challenging kind of warfare.
It’s always fortunate when good Samaritans step up to help them. And the following stories remind me that I want to be the kind of person who would help an elderly soldier if ever he needed it.
Consider what a group of people did in 2015 for 92-year-old World War II veteran Oscar Ehrhart. According to WPVI, Ehrhart was driving at night and took a wrong turn.
That wouldn’t be a problem for most of us, but Ehrhart’s night vision wasn’t the best, and he soon found himself lost — really lost. He ended up 200 miles off course.
Finally, he pulled in a stranger’s driveway for help, and soon enough local police got involved in the best possible way. Sergeant Thomas Egan of the Robbinsville Township Police Department offered to take the veteran to a nearby Hampton Inn for the night, and as soon as the hotel’s manager heard about it, she ended providing the room for free.
“You expect, OK, the officers are doing their job,” the manager said. “They’re getting the person to where they need to be, and they’re on their way, but these officers went above and beyond.”
KVVU reported that another 92-year-old World War II veteran ended up stranded in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he headed out on his scooter to do some shopping and couldn’t find his way home in the dark. Unable to walk, the veteran began waving at passing cars to flag down help.
“I needed to know where I was, and I didn’t,” he said. “I’d wave at the cars, and they’d just keep going.”
Yet not everyone kept driving. A young man named Alexis Gastelum saw the needy nonagenarian and decided to help.
“How do people just walk by, you know?” Gastelum wondered. “When I ran into him, people had just passed him.”
Gastelum got in his car, tooled along at a slow enough speed so that the scooter could keep up, and guided the old veteran home.
Once they got home, Gastelum helped the geriatric out of his scooter and into a chair. Then he wrapped up him so he could get warm.
“You’re the only one in about a thousand people that stopped,” the veteran said.
“That was the greatest help I’d ever had in my life,” he later added. Now that’s true heroism.
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