Local heroes help war hero

89-year-old World War II veteran Alex Sawchyn stakes out to shoot veterans' stories of service. (Photo: Vicki Thomas)


REDDING, Conn. (WTNH) — After his homeowner’s insurance was canceled pending a list of repairs, Alex Sawchyn, an 89-year-old World War II veteran, is getting some help from Purple Heart Homes.

After 50 years of paying homeowners’ insurance, Alex Sawchyn discovered his policy had been canceled, leaving him to find another claim for his Redding home. Another insurer gave Sawchyn a list of repairs and renovations – painting the house, replacing the roof, removing larger trees – that would have to preempt his policy.

Determined, but unable to pay for these processes, Sawchyn attempted to take them on himself. He fell of his ladder twice, once while trying to cut down the sizable tree overhanging his home, and once while painting. When an old friend, Senator Mike McLachlan, noticed Sawchyn’s injuries, and learned of his insurance conundrum, he reached out to Purple Heart Homes (PHH), a North Carolina-based organization founded by two Iraq veterans wounded in combat. PHH works to help older veterans safely age in their own homes.

PHH then galvanized teams of volunteers to turnover Sawchyn’s roof replacement in a single day. Thursday, Mark Edwards Roofing and Siding, among three other groups of volunteers, one providing a chili lunch, will work towards ensuring the insurability of the Purple Heart-toting veteran.

State Senator Mike McLachlan lauded the turnout, saying,

“This is what neighbors looking out for one another is all about. Alexander Sawchyn is a member of the ‘Greatest Generation’ that does not ask for help. We are grateful to Purple Heart Homes, Mark Edwards, and all the volunteers that stepped up to help this wonderful World War II veteran and his wife, Theresa, who have always given so much to help others.”

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