Long Island community comes together to help 88-year-old female Korean War vet

Kristin Thorne Image
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Long Island Community gives back to Korean War Veteran
Kristin Thorne reports on a community that helped repair the home of a Korean War veteran.

SHIRLEY, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island community came together over the past few months to help an 88-year-old Korean War veteran with the maintenance of her home and property.

"I'm used to do doing everything myself, so it was kind of hard, but I'm so grateful because I don't have to worry about the things that need to be fixed," said Jean Littman, of Shirley.

Boy Scouts from Troop 138 replaced the fence on Littman's property, which had been destroyed, and cleaned up large tree branches which had fallen down. They also built new steps leading up to Littman's front door.

"There's so many veterans that go unnoticed and now we get to help out one who did so much for our country," said Boy Scout Daniel Prudente.

In 1952, at 19 years old, Littman enlisted in the Marines.

She was stationed in California and Virginia from 1952 to 1955.

"We should thank the veterans for what they did for us," said Boy Scout Ian Hua.

The supplies for the projects were donated by Home Depots in Coram, Shirley and Bellport.

"I have family that is military. It's one of the things that makes me very proud to work for this company," said Christina Valitzski with Home Depot.

RELATED | New York City honors armed forces on Veterans Day amid coronavirus pandemic

Valitzski estimates Home Depot donated $3,000 in supplies.

Those with the Mastic Fire Department helped pick up the supplies from Home Depot and deliver them to Littman's property.

"It's great to help someone that has served our country," said Nina Arthur with the Mastic Fire Department.

Suffolk County Legislator Rudy Sunderman (R-Mastic) also helped in organizing the community effort.

"Everybody came together and made it happen and that's why you see an overwhelming support for Mrs. Littman," Sunderman said.

Volunteers also installed flood lights on Littman's home and a Ring doorbell for security.

Volunteers will continue to work on Littman's property and are planning renovations for inside her home as well.

"We're going to be down here this weekend. We're going to remove some large trees in the back," said Walter Wood with the Mastic Fire Department.

"We're going to do a power washing of the house. We're going to do some trim up of the trees," said Howard Hafkin with the Home Depot in Coram.

Hafkin is himself a Gulf War veteran.

"Working for an organization like Home Depot and being a veteran - to have my values married to my company's values is very important," he said.

Staceyann Castro-Tapler, with the Long Island Chapter of the Women Marines Association, said she's happy that community members are constantly stopping by now to check on Littman.

"As a marine, she's very tough, but you always want to make sure she's safe," she said. "The fact that the community has her on their radar now is fantastic."

RELATED | Long Island woman and her army of volunteers serve home-cooked meals to hungry veterans

This Long Island woman organized an effort to make sure all Long Island Veterans are fed, creating an organization that operates from inside her home.


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