Helping Homebound Heroes - August

July 31, 2018

More than two years after he famously declared, “I shall return”, American general Douglas MacArthur walked ashore at Leyte in the Philippine Islands in October 1944.  And 20-year-old Joe Celestino of Austin was there.  “[MacArthur] returned with a bunch of people, I was one of them,” Mr. Celestino recalls nearly 75 years later after he served in an amphibious tractor battalion in the Pacific theater of World War II.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, Mr. Celestino got married and eventually had six children.  He went on to work for 30 years in facility maintenance at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin until the base was shut down by the government in the 1990’s.  His wife, Nancy, passed away eight years ago, but he still lives in the house he bought 55 years ago on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake.

But the home needs attention.  The central air and heating system has to be replaced as does the plumbing.  The foundation needs work and then there’s the bathroom – a walk-in shower would be so much safer for Mr. Celestino to use than the bathtub that’s in there now.  Fortunately, through funding generously provided by The Home Depot Foundation, Meals on Wheels Central Texas will soon be making his house a safer place for him to live, and Mr. Celestino could not be happier:  “I’m 94-years-old and I don’t want to move! This is home!”