Florida Firefighters Paint Home of Blind World War II Veteran

  • Dozens of members of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and their families painted the house belonging to William Velez, a blind World War II veteran, on April 13, 2019. Facebook photo
    Dozens of members of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and their families painted the house belonging to William Velez, a blind World War II veteran, on April 13, 2019. Facebook photo
  • Dozens of members of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and their families painted the house belonging to William Velez, a blind World War II veteran, on April 13, 2019. Facebook photo
    Dozens of members of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and their families painted the house belonging to William Velez, a blind World War II veteran, on April 13, 2019. Facebook photo

A blind World War II veteran's home was painted over the weekend by firefighters in Florida who decided to give back to the community in a special way.

William Velez, 89, and his wife were full of gratitude after dozens of members of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and their families painted their house Saturday as part of an event coordinated with Paint Your Heart Out Tampa, a volunteer effort.

Volunteer Ken Forward told Fox station WTVT that it's natural for firefighters to give back to the community.

"To assist the community, to serve the community, and that's what we're doing today," Forward said, adding that Velez noted "he's not able to get around and maintain his home the way he'd like."

Forward continued, "He told me he painted his home 17 years ago by himself. But now with his impairment, he can't do it, so we're here to help him."

In addition to a fresh coat of paint, fire rescue volunteers installed smoke detectors in Velez's home.

"Mr. Velez and his wife came out and met with us, and just to see his appreciation and gratitude is rewarding," he told the news station.

Paint Your Heart Out Tampa's website states that its mission "is to enrich lives and renew our community through annual volunteer efforts to paint and beautify our senior, veteran, or disabled neighbors' homes … one paint brush at a time."

The group has 75,000 volunteers who have painted 3,000 houses, according to the site.

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