Community, Marines rally around vandalized war hero

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by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 12:10 PM

HOUSTON -- Community outrage over the teens who trashed and burglarized 93-year-old  Elbert Wood’s home earlier this week has turned into something positive. 

The decorated World War II veteran returned home from a doctor's appointment Monday morning to find his house in shambles. The burglars had spray-painted everything from furniture to walls and windows.

“I don’t know what to think about it,” said Wood. “I was just amazed to walk in and see all of this harm done, and one thing and another.”

Police caught two teens, ages 13 and 16, with Wood's property and spray paint on their hands. The boys cried and apologized before being  hauled off to jail. They are suspected in other break-ins.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that somebody would come into somebody else’s house who has never done anything to them,” said son, Matthew Wood. “They don’t know him from Adam and decided they need to tear stuff up.”

Wood lost his wife of 57 years back in December, but as he learned on Tuesday, he’s not alone. Forty marines and an army of contractors showed up at his house to help with repairs.

"We appreciate your service and from one Marine to another, we have your back," said one Marine.

Wood is also receiving new furnishings from Gallery Furniture.

Much of Tuesday’s effort was coordinated by radio host Michael Berry, who doesn’t mince words when it comes to the two juveniles believed to be responsible for the vandalism.

“We were all young and stupid once, but how could you do that?” said Barry. “More than angry at them; I feel frustration for him. He deserves better than this.”

All that frustration has given way to hope and compassion.

The work on Wood's home will get under way Wednesday and is expected to take a couple of weeks.

Wood was shot during his first tour of duty in World War II. He was hospitalized for a year but returned to serve a second tour when he recovered. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

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