Advancing National Service

How Putting a Pen to Paper Saved a Disabled Veteran’s Home

December 19, 2014
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How Putting a Pen to Paper Saved a Disabled Veteran’s Home
A disabled Vietnam veteran will keep his home thanks to the efforts of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The very last letter provided just the help he needed.

Saying that 65-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran Buck was down on his luck is an understatement.

His septic tank failed and would cost $27,000 to repair. His daughter is ill, so he and his wife support their children, leaving them with no money to spare and the belief that they might have to abandon their home in Pontiac, Mich. Desperate, Buck’s wife started writing letters to any organization and individual she could think of, asking for help.

“My wife started applying for everything and I remember it was almost funny the envelopes of rejection coming in,” Buck tells Fox Detroit.

When his wife exhausted all the places she could think of to ask for help, Buck sat down to write a letter of his own to L. Brooks Patterson, a lawyer and politician who is the County Executive of Oakland County, Mich., where Buck lives. “You sir are my last hope,” he wrote, “we gave up for the most part last month but something tells me to contact L. Brooks Patterson.”

Buck’s instinct was right. Patterson immediately directed his staff to search for grants to help Buck. “We picked up a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and a $16,000 grant from the Michigan Veterans Homeowners Assistance Program,” Patterson says. “Put that together and you can fix the septic and stay in your home for Christmas.”

“It was one of the most amazing feelings I ever felt,” Buck tells Bill Mullan, an Oakland County Media and Communications Officer. “For months we had been thinking we were going to have to leave our home, about the packing we had to do, and how we were going to have to come up with the money to move. I felt safe again.”

MORE: The Coordinated Rescue Team That Saved A Disabled Veteran From Homelessness

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