SAN ANTONIO – Work has finally begun to restore the home of 94-year-old Alfred Guerra, who earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart during World War II while fighting in the Pacific.
Tony Roman, past commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1836, said offers to help came in soon after he spread the word that Guerra’s family had posted his home had fallen into disrepair.
After that, however, Roman said the plans initially stalled due to the pandemic.
But since then, he said Guerra’s home now has a new roof, the interior was gutted in advance of plumbing and electrical work is still to come.
“It’s the least we can do is make sure that he has a comfortable home to live in,” Roman said.
Broken Warriors Angels, a grassroots nonprofit organization that assists homeless and disabled veterans, also learned of Guerra’s situation.
“It’s veterans helping veterans. That’s all there is to it,” said Fred Alvarado, the group’s CEO.
Also last Saturday, veterans of three wars, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, spent the day taking out walls and other works that needed to be done on the inside of Guerra’s home.
Word even reached the SRS Raise the Roof Foundation, associated with one of the nation’s largest roofing distributors.
A crew with its local branch Southern Shingles put in the new roof on Guerra’s home.
Tim Lynch, with SRS Distribution, said, “It’s a blessing to be able to help Mr. Guerra.”
Lynch said when he first met Guerra, he was out in his yard raking leaves. He said he felt compassion for the war hero.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Maria Guerra, his daughter. “It’s a mission of mercy.”
She said her father, who has been living with her for the past several months, has missed his home so much that at times, he cries.
But Roman said it may be at least another month before Guerra is able to return to his home.
Roman said what’s been done has taken the generosity of all those who donated their time and skills to the effort, and he hopes that a company would do the same by donating heating and air conditioning for the small home.
Watching it all, Guerra said if there ever was a dream come true, restoring his home was it.
Although his memory is not what it used to be, Guerra said, “I will never forget what you did for me.”