After vandals trashed the home of a 93-year old veteran of World War II, people here in Houston – and all over the U.S. – pitched in to help.
It's been a week and a half since the interior of Elbert Wood's northwest Houston house was spray-painted, allegedly by two teenage boys who broke in.
By Wednesday, it was a whole new home, with improvements both inside and out.
"The roof is on, the exterior siding is done, the generator's in," said Bert Harvey, a project manager with Gehan Homes who is supervising the makeover. "New plumbing, new A/C."
All of it – materials and labor – donated by volunteers who are working to get the former marine's home in ship shape.
Plus, there's an online fundraiser organized by GruntLife USA, a group comprised of military veterans mostly from other states.
Its mission? Raise $8,000 to send Mr. Wood and his family to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington DC.
"Maybe even see the names of some of his friends, who lost their lives in sacrifice of our country, that are on that memorial now," said Keith Holden, an Iraq war vet in Phoenix who is helping drum up donations. So far, they've already surpassed the $5,000 mark.
That trip is tentatively scheduled for April. But first things first: Elbert Wood ought to be able to move back home after all the work is completed in about 10 days.
It'll be an emotional payoff for those like Bert Harvey who gave of their time and their money to make things right for an elderly veteran.
"Man, I don't know," mused Harvey, when asked how he'd react to witnessing the homecoming. "I'm probably going to cry."
If you want to help fund Elbert Wood's trip to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC, visit http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/gruntlife-elbert-wood-wwii-fund/40126.