• Neighbors step in to help disabled veteran when he needed it most

    By: Berndt Petersen

    Updated:

    WOODSTOCK, Ga. - A handful of Cherokee County neighbors have spent three days helping a disabled Vietnam veteran whose large yard had grown out of control.

    Managing a very large lawn can be a challenge no matter what your age, but when you're 80, some say forget about it.

    "It's so easy for people to fall behind and let things get out of control,” said Joe Ward. 

    Last week, Ward hopped on a local social media site and read complaints about the condition of a neighbor’s property near Woodstock.  

    Instead of joining in, Ward told Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen that he went over and met the owner -- a disabled veteran of the Vietnam war.

    “He was loading brush on his own. He's 80 years old. He was wheezing and having a great deal of difficulty with a massive task ahead of him. And no one offered to help him," Ward said.


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    After a few posts of his own, Ward recruited a small army of volunteers to do some yard work.

    “How can I help? What can I do? Put me to work. And it just warms the heart," said volunteer Tim Cheseborough. "We've gotten responses from people who wanted to help veterans or the elderly. I think it's just great that people are helping a neighbor." 

    Petersen and a Channel 2 Action News photographer went to the vet’s home Tuesday where they found volunteers cutting, chopping and burning brush in what was day three of the cleanup operation.

    Ward hopes this will be the first neighbor of many his crew will help. He told Petersen that instead of complaining or calling code enforcement, they will step up and clean up.

    “When I saw that post, I was horrified. Then, to have everyone suddenly be quiet and have the positive people chime in was very inspirational," Ward said. "We'd like to have neighbors help neighbors instead of causing problems or being negative about their situations."

    The property owner did not want to appear on camera. He said he didn't ask for the help, but appreciates what folks have done.

    The volunteers told Petersen that the last thing they need is somebody who can cut down some trees and grind stumps.

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