A ceremony was held for the reveal of a new home in New Fairfield for a World War II veteran, who said his court-appointed conservator took advantage of him.
United States Army Veteran Lou Russo said he was disillusioned after learning how a conservator was spending his life savings. But, countless volunteers pulled together to rebuild his home after it fell into total disrepair.
On Veterans Day, a celebration fit for an American hero kicked off the big reveal of his newly renovated home.
A stream of musicians kicked off a ceremony honoring Russo, who is enjoying his newly-renovated home.
“I can never express enough gratitude for what they've all done,” Russo said.
It all started when Russo was hurt after a fall a few years ago. Court officials appointed a conservator to look out for his best interest.
Russo was placed in a private nursing home instead of a veterans affairs hospital, which would have been free.
The conservator, who later resigned, sold many of Russo's belongings. His home heating system broke, and his home was even rented to strangers.
Russo said he felt like the country he fought for had turned its back on him.
“He built this house with his hands,” said John Hodge with the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. “Now we felt like it was up to us to give him a hand, so he can actually stay in this house.”
But a crew of generous volunteers looked to make the situation right. They teamed up with Home Depot and the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to help rebuild the 97-year old's home.
“The tough time for Lou Russo is behind him, and this community is behind him,” Hodge said.
“It's changed so much,” Russo said. “It's beautiful.”
One of the most important new features to his home is a plaque honoring his brother.
“Lou lost his brother on the invasion of Normandy in the first wave,” Hodge said. “He was concerned that his brother was never laid to rest properly.”
“I accept humbly everything you've done for me, mainly in honor of my brother,” Russo said.
Veteran's Day is of course a celebration of all our nation's brave veterans. But in New Fairfield, it was declared Lou Russo Day.
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