Marines and strangers rush to aid of victimized veteran

January 22, 2013 4:39:32 PM PST
There's a good news update on a home ransacked and spray painted by a pair of teen burglars in northwest Houston. While the burglars are now in custody, community members and Marines stepped in to help the homeowner -- a 93-year-old World War II veteran.

The Marines quickly marched into the defaced home of WWII veteran Elbert Wood, eager to help.

"It's important that he knows we're here for him and that we're always his brothers," Major Roberto Rodriguez said.

The presence of these local Marines is just one example of the outpouring of support for Wood since we first reported the burglary and vandalism of his home on Monday. Two teens, ages 13 and 16, were arrested for allegedly committing the crime.

"My feelings about them are not anger so much as just wondering why they would do something like that," Wood said.

Since then, calls came in from around the country, as former Marines and strangers offered to paint the graffiti-laden walls or replace the damaged household items. Gallery Furniture dropped off a living room set.

Wood's daughter Mary Ellen Hopperdietzel said, "I feel that a fuss is made because he is a World War II veteran. But the fact of it is, this is devastating no matter who it happens to."

The Wood family says it's still trying to comprehend all the support shown their father, who also just lost his wife last month. For today, it's obvious the presence of fellow Marines brought a smile to his face, as he coaxed the younger Marines into an impromptu singing of the Marine Corps hymn.

Some contractors and builders also stopped by to assess the situation. They will return to complete the cleanup and repairs.

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