Volunteers surprise World War II veteran with home improvements

A 95-year-old WWII veteran was in need of help. He could no longer care for his yard. Years of overgrown brush and trash made the task overwhelming. Volunteers took on the job. And he was also given a ticket to a trip of a lifetime.

Early Friday morning dozens of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work clearing out the property of a man who could not do it on his own. "A family member reached out for help. That's what we do. We protect and serve,” said Officer Marcus Davis, Austin Police Department.

Austin Police Officer Marcus Davis learned the person in need was a World War II veteran.

Like Davis, 95-year-old Bob Goolsby served in the army.

Davis gathered teens who participate in the department's explorer program.

Home depot provided supplies and volunteers and Honor Flight Austin also pitched in.

"I'm amazed. I don't know what to say,” said Goolsby. "It was quite a mess before."

Goolsby and his wife watched as their yard was transformed.

"I can't believe they want to do this,” said Jewell Goolsby.

The yard is only half of the project. On Saturday volunteers will power wash and paint the house. It's a lot of work, but to those involved, it's a gift in itself. "It feels great. I like helping people. It's just one way to give back to the community,” said volunteer Angelica Rodriguez.

"To see their face when it's done and they see our work and how we're doing it as a team makes me excited and filled with joy,” said volunteer Madeline Tello.

Allen Bergeron of Honor Flight Austin threw in one more surprise.

Bergeron: "Not only are you getting your landscaping redone, but I'm going to surprise you with a trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. on what we call an Honor Flight with another group of WWII veterans. What do you think about that?"                   

Goolsby: "That's great to be able to talk to old veterans. I haven't talked to in a long time."

Goolsby will see the national memorial built in his honor.

Bergeron: "You excited?"

Goolsby: "Yes."

Bergeron:  "You ready to go?"

Goolsby: "Ready."

"It makes me feel good and I know it makes him feel good we're here,” said Davis.

More volunteers are needed! If you can help, call 512-658-4938 or 512-496-8733.

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