marine raises money veteran

We can never do enough to repay our veterans and these heroes deserve better than the “care” they are provided by the VA. A story about one man’s quest to help a fellow veteran should inspire others to do the same.

Guido Filippone served during the bloodiest periods of the Iraq War. He is a civilian now, but he still does his part for his brothers in arms. The Marine founded Zero Films and one of his missions is to tell the stories of WWII veterans before they fade away into eternity.

So, when Filippone was leaving his appointment at a VA and noticed a senior citizen wearing a WWII veteran hat, he had to speak with him. Mike Gazella was walking to his car. It was not an easy walk for a man of his age and the VA didn’t provide him any help getting there. Filippone walked with him and learned some of his story.

The WWII Army veteran served in Germany towards the end of the year. He went to the VA that day because he was seeking help with medical bills from a surgery. He owed over $4000 and was hoping the VA would help him out. He drove over an hour from Leander, TX to plead his case.

“If I had a checkbook, I would have given the money to him right there. I wouldn’t want a World War II vet to move on to the next phase of life in debt,” Filippone said.

The Marine wanted to help out, but the proud WWII veteran refused. Filippone then turned to GoFundMe. He set the campaign up for seven days and hoped to raise the $4000 needed. He kicked it off with a $1000 of his own. People immediately reacted and $15,000 was raised for this hero! $11,000 was raised in the first 16 hours!

Filippone didn’t get contact information for Gazella, so now he is working on tracking him down. The WWII veteran said he goes to a Starbucks every day in Leander. There are only two Starbucks there, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to track him down. Filippone plans to take a check from the crowdsourcing fundraiser to both Starbucks locations until he locates Gazella.

The Marine hopes that this story will encourage others to reach out and help our veterans. “I could have easily just walked away and moved on. It’s nice to give back when you can,” he said. “I always say we already have the Greatest Generation—we should be the better generation. Never miss a chance to thank a veteran.”

Perhaps when Filippone does track down this WWII hero, he will capture his story. The moviemaker is determined to record the stories from these veterans before they are all gone. A trailer for his film “Fading Front” can be viewed below.

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Source: Faith Wire

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