Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

These Wwii Vets in Same Boat

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

These Wwii Vets in Same Boat

Article excerpt

An Allegheny County program might fill the gap for 90-year-old World War II vets who recently saw a cutback in housekeeping and home aide care from the VA, but those vets still wonder why they were thrown such a curve in the first place.

"That's a helluva thing to take away," said Jack Naughton, 91, of Forest Hills, a Marine with dreams he can't shake about the Battle of Iwo Jima, who recently saw his home aide care reduced. "There're not that many of us left and they're taking the benefits away."

On Sunday, I wrote about Lawrence DeLisio, 90, of the North Side, who lost his housekeeping services. He's young for a World War II vet, and since the column ran I've heard of three other nonagenarian World War II vets and an 85-year-old Korean War rifleman who lost housecleaning and other home services.

George Thomas Adams, 94, legally blind and using a walker, fell and broke his hip shortly after his meal preparation and other household help was cut off at the end of July.

Mr. Adams since has needed to move from an assisted living high-rise in Natrona Heights to a skilled nursing home in Brackenridge, his stepdaughter Kathy Lorish said.

Mr. Naughton, coincidentally, was a friend of Mr. DeLisio back when the both worked for the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory six decades ago, but it was only this week they realized they were on Guam at the same time during the war.

At least five people emailed me to volunteer to do the biweekly housework for Mr. DeLisio after they read about his situation, and others offered to contribute money. But it appears the county's Area Agency on Aging can do the work every couple of weeks for about $21 a month.

It currently does home support housekeeping for 1,650 people, more than 100 of them veterans, for as little as nothing depending on the clients' income.

Mr. DeLisio won't be turning the county down, but said, "I don't feel I should be taxing county taxpayers. I'm entitled to this from the service."

The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System disagrees. In an explanatory letter to Washington lawmakers about the cutbacks earlier this year, it said that light housekeeping - which Mr. …

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