Tags: guido filippone | mike gazella | veteran | wwii

Guido Filippone, Mike Gazella: Marine Vet Raises $14K for WWII Veteran

Guido Filippone, Mike Gazella: Marine Vet Raises $14K for WWII Veteran
Marine veteran Guido Filippone has raised more than $14,000 for Mike Gazella, a World War II veteran he met in a VA parking lot. (Erix2005/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 18 May 2018 06:31 PM

Marine veteran Guido Filippone raised thousands of dollars to help Mike Gazella, a World War II vet he had only just met.

Filippone first noticed Gazella as he was leaving an appointment at a VA facility May 16. What caught his attention was the older man’s WWII ball cap.

“I immediately approached him ... and thanked him for his service,” Filippone said, Fox News reported.

Filippone also noticed Gazella was making a long trek to his car in the hot Texas sun while towing his walker.

“There was no one around with a golf cart to get him there faster,” the younger man explained.

That’s when he approached, introduced himself and assisted Gazella to his vehicle.

“We got to talking and he told me he was drafted into the Army and he was stationed in Germany as the war was ending,” he said, Fox News reported

During the course of their conversation, Filippone learned his new friend didn’t visit the Austin VA facility for a medical appointment — he was there to ask the agency to help with the $4,000 tab that remained for operations he’d received over a year earlier.

Now he had to make the half-hour ride back to his home in Laredo with nothing to show for it.

“If I had a checkbook, I would have given the money to him right there. I wouldn’t want a World War II vet to move on to the next phase of life in debt,” Filippone said, Fox News reported.

That’s when the younger man took action on his own without Gazella’s knowledge. He set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of getting the $4,000 the older vet needed. But he didn’t get the four grand — within 16 hours he raised $11,000, and as of Friday, the account totaled more than $14,000.

Raising the funds was just half the battle, the other half is locating Gazella on scant information.

"I have to track this guy down," Filippone said, Fox News reported. "I know he goes to Starbucks every day in Leander — there’s only two Starbucks in Leander. I’m going to go to both, ask around and give him a check."

To the young Marine it’s about paying it forward.

“I could have easily just walked away and moved on. It’s nice to give back when you can,” Filippone said, Fox News reported.

“I always say we already have the Greatest Generation — we should be the better generation. Never miss a chance to thank a veteran,” he added.

Both men were praised on social media.

     

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TheWire
Marine veteran Guido Filippone raised thousands of dollars to help Mike Gazella, a World War II vet he had only just met.
guido filippone, mike gazella, veteran, wwii
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2018-31-18
Friday, 18 May 2018 06:31 PM
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