Harold Utsler is a WWII veteran on the verge of being homeless after being stranded by his family at a Texas airport. A deservedly proud man, at 90 years old Harold is asking for help.
When Pets for Patriots first posted news of Harold’s predicament in early August, many people expressed astonishment that an elderly veteran would be facing homelessness. The Veterans’ Administration estimates that on any given night, 107,000 veterans are homeless and another 1.5 million are at risk due to a variety of factors, such as lack of support networks, poverty or poor living conditions. Inevitably, these risk factors apply to some elderly veterans who have little or no buffer zone to safeguard them from homelessness.
Harold is currently living in a transitional housing facility in Houston. We contacted U.S. Vets, the not-for-profit that manages the facility to confirm his story and find out how people could assist this war hero. By all accounts, this former B-24 top turret gunner and flight engineer, who flew 50 missions over Europe, is a humble and surprisingly positive man in spite of his circumstances.
We left our number and Harold called us a few days later. He was grateful for the offer of support and told us how some extended family contacted him to help after learning of his predicament. Some he had not heard from in 15 years, but none are able to take him in. One family member is getting him a lounge chair so that he doesn’t have to sit up in bed to watch television in his otherwise spartan room.
Harold has been in touch with us again for help. Limited to his Social Security and left with virtually nothing to his name, he is allowing us to put out an appeal for assistance. If you would like to help Harold, here’s how:
- U.S. Vets needs money to pay for Harold to get a hearing aid. You can contribute online at U.S. Vets for the Houston location, or mail your check with how you would like your donation directed to: U.S. Vets 4604 Main Street, Houston TX 77002
- If you’d like to send a gift card for Harold to buy clothing and other necessities, both Sears and Target are near the living facility
- If you’d like to send a gas card, Harold still drives! Both Chevron and Shell stations are nearby
- Harold’s mailing address is: Midtown Terrace Suites 4640 Main Street, Room 306 Houston, TX 77002 – please send any monetary donations, gift cards or greeting cards directly to him at this address