FORT McCOY, Fla. – Back in April, News 6 brought you the story of vandalized vehicles at the VFW Veterans Village in Fort McCoy.
The vandal sliced and scratched the sides and hood of the SUV and bus used to take veterans to doctor appointments and to run errands.
For some of the veterans, that transportation is how they can keep their independence after fighting for the United States.
Harold Rider, a World War II veteran and VFW Village resident, was told by his VA hospital that he couldn't drive anymore. Thanks to the vehicles provided at the village, he is able to get to his appointments.
“I really, really appreciate it because it's the first time I've been allowed a ride to the VA to get anything done,” said Rider.
Not only was the writing on the sides of the vehicles damaged, but also the Cross of Malta on the front of the bus.
“I was personally insulted,” said Bill Newman, a WWII and Korean War veteran. “They could've slapped me in the face and I would have appreciated it better. When they knocked this, they knocked everybody.”
After the incident, News 6's story got results for the VFW Village from all over the country.
“From all over the place as far away as Texas that they wanted to do stuff for us to appreciate that 1 percent that put on that uniform,” director Al Lugo explained.
Lugo said a Wounded Warrior family support group from Texas even donated funding for surveillance cameras.
An outpouring of support came from VFW posts, who donated money for a security gate at the front entrance, Jenkins Auto Group, who repainted the vehicles, and A&G Signs, who replaced the Cross of Malta.
Lugo said the Village is about $10,000 short of being able to complete the security gate. If you'd like to donate, contact the VFW Veterans Village directly.