MILFORD, Ohio – On this Memorial Day weekend, one Navy vet is honoring another he never knew – and from the grave.
The giver is a long-time Milford resident with a heart for his military family.
Neil Jonas passed away in December. He wanted the eight lots of property he owned that back up to the Little Miami River donated for a veteran memorial park. That got Jonas’s niece, Wendy Farfsing, wondering what to do with the stuff inside her Uncle Neil's house.
“We have family members saying, ‘Oh, let's have a yard sale. Let's do this,’” said Farfsing, the executor of her uncle’s estate, “and I'm thinking, ‘No, somebody needs this right now.’
“And just by chance I came across Maslow's Army on Facebook and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is perfect.’”
Maslow's Army, the group you see each week feeding the homeless Downtown, had just helped Henry Franklin find an apartment he could afford on the $700 a month he receives as a disabled Navy vet. They knew Franklin needed a bed.
He could never have expected what he got.
“I am being blessed by these people,” Franklin said, standing outside Jonas’ home. “These people opened up that house and said, ‘Go in there and go shopping.’ “Everything and anything that I wanted is in that house and, trust me, all of it ... it's great things.”
Jonas’s family helped Franklin pack several vehicles full of things - meaningful things considering they came from another Navy vet.
“It was one of my brothers,” Franklin said through tears.
“You gotta understand. It's because they care ... about vets,” he said.
Farfsing's example ought to be a reminder to all of us.
“We have veterans in need. Damn it, America,” she said. “None of our veterans should be in need. That’s how I feel. And the fact that we can help somebody directly right now, I’m feeling doubly humbled and blessed.”
Neil Jonas's property has been approved as a site for a future memorial park. WCPO will bring you that story as the property is developed.