Source: Sherman Publications

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Legion makes life easier for WWII vet

by CJ Carnacchio

June 01, 2011

By C.J. Carnacchio

Special Writer for The Review

It doesn't matter what war they fought in or what branch they served in, veterans always taken care of each other.

No one knows that better than World War II veteran Jack Hall, of Orion Township, and his wife of 24 years, Eva.

Thanks to some help from American Legion Post 108 in Oxford, the couple is in the process of having a brand new handicap-accessible bathroom constructed at their home.

The new bathroom will consist of a 6-foot-by-8-foot wheelchair-accessible shower, a separate bathtub, a handicap toilet surrounded by handrails and a handicap sink.

"Once it's all done, it will be a lot easier and a lot better for him and me," Eva said.

Jack, who will turn 84 in August, suffers from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), which has robbed him of his ability to walk and speak clearly. A former Navy man, Jack proudly served in the Pacific Theater aboard the U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61), a battleship, from 1943-45.

After the war, he owned and operated Hall's Auction on Clarkston Road in Orion Township for about 30 years.

Eva cares for Jack on a daily basis, but can no longer lift him due to injuries to both her knees and a shoulder.

Jack's condition combined with Eva's physical limitations made it impossible for him to use their home's existing, standard bathroom.

"I couldn't get him into the bathroom that we have now," Eva said. "I've been giving him sponge baths for the last year-and-a-half."

Fortunately, Jim Parkhurst and the late Bob Williams, fellow veterans and members the legion post, came to the rescue.

Parkhurst and Williams worked with Eva and helped her file the necessary paperwork to have a handicap bathroom built at a cost of approximately $64,000, all of which is being paid for by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"I had no clue about the paperwork," Eva said. "They helped me do a lot of the paperwork and they knew who to contact. They really made a big difference. They have been such a tremendous help."

"It's a great feeling to be a part of an organization that's willing to help a fellow veteran that needs something," Parkhurst said. "That's what we're here for. You do what you can."

Eva admitted without the help of Parkhurst and Williams, she "would have given up (on the VA) a long time ago."

"I would have got lost in the paperwork," she said.

"It took about eight or nine months to get it approved," Parkhurst said. "It takes a while. There's so many guys applying for benefits through the VA."

"It's a long process and it's not always easy," he added. "Some people get discouraged, but if you're a veteran and you need help, just stay at it. Don't stop. If they need it, we can try to help and point them in the right direction."

The Halls' new bathroom is being constructed by the Orion-based SOS Mechanical, owned by Tim Scribner, and carpenter Doug Green.

This wasn't the first time American Legion Post 108 has helped the Halls.

"About 10 years ago, they came out and put in a handicap ramp for him," Eva said. "We owe them so much."

"We've probably built 15 or 20 wheelchair ramps just locally in the last 10 years," Parkhurst noted.