Florida Firefighters Team Up To Paint Home Of 89 Year-Old Blind World War II Veteran

A group of firefighters in Florida came together to give a blind World War II veteran a much needed paint job on his house last weekend.

William Velez, 89, and his wife were incredibly touched when dozens of firefighters with the the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue showed up at their home on Saturday to paint it in an event put together by volunteer group Paint Your Heart Out Tampa.

“It makes me glad, I’m very, very happy for that,” Velez said when he saw the work they did.

Volunteer Ken Forward said that giving back to the community comes naturally to firefighters.

“In the fire service, we are innate to give back to the community,” explained Ken Forward, the Paint Your Heart Out team captain. “To assist the community, to serve the community, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

“With his disabilities, he’s not able to get around and maintain his home the way he’d like,” Forward added of Velez. “He told me he painted his home 17 years ago by himself. But now with his impairment, he can’t do it, so we’re here to help him.”

Firefighters also put new fire detectors in the home for Velez as they did the paint job.

“Mr. Velez and his wife came out and met with us, and just to see his appreciation and gratitude is rewarding,” Forward explained.

It often seems that veterans don’t get the respect that they deserve in this country, so it’s nice to see a community come together to help out someone who fought in World War II. Enjoy your newly redone home, Mr. Velez, and thank you for your service!


COMMENT POLICY: We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment!