This Spring, We Celebrate our Heroes

May 22, 2015 11:00 AM ET

This Spring, We Celebrate our Heroes

Dave is a 65-year-old veteran who volunteered to serve two tours in the Army during the Vietnam War. He began his service in 1968, and was honorably discharged in June of 1971 after completing his second tour of duty. For his service, Dave received several commendations, including the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60.

Upon his return to the U.S., Dave went back to what he enjoyed most; open spaces and working outside. He took great pride in leading landscaping crews as a foreman in the years after his Army service.

One day, while working with a power trimmer, Dave experienced severe chest pain. He had just experienced his first of several heart attacks. After he received a complete workup by the VA hospital, it was determined his heart was severely damaged, complicated with a diagnosis of diabetes. With no family medical history of heart disease or diabetes, VA doctors took a closer look at his service record, determining he was exposed to the toxic herbicide known as “Agent Orange” on multiple occasions during his service in Vietnam. He was awarded full disability benefits through the VA medical system. Unfortunately this process took several years and his family used any savings for medical care and basic needs.

Dave also experiences symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from his tours in Vietnam. He initially had some difficulty reintegrating into civilian life, and did not always want to be around others due to his PTSD. Through Dave’s medical trouble, his wife Dora has remained a positive constant. Dave says that she is the only one that truly understands him, and she has stood by him through all his physical and mental health concerns.

Since 2010, Dave has been unable to work and the couple has fallen further behind on medical bills. He and Dora came within months of being evicted from their home, until they finally received his disability payments dating back to 2010. They are now current on their bills, but had to defer critical home repair and maintenance.  

Their Hazel Park home house needed serious work. The small row house was built in the 1950s. The house critically needed a new energy efficient furnace and energy efficient windows and doors. The water heater was almost 15 years old and needed to be replaced. New weather stripping and insulation was needed throughout the home. The exterior needed landscape work and painting.

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, on Saturday, May 22, Rebuilding Together Oakland County – in partnership with Sears – helped Dave and Dora with the critical repairs they needed to make their home safe and healthy. The Heroes at Home Program is a collaborative partnership between Sears and Rebuilding Together. Since 2007, more than 40,000 volunteers have donated nearly 320,000 hours to serve low-income members of the military, their families and veterans by making the critical home repairs and modifications they need to ensure a safe and healthy home. 

To learn more, and to support Heroes at Home, visit

Check out the story of Dave and Dora’s home rebuild on ABC 7 Detroit.