- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

HATBORO, Pa. (AP) - A story Nov. 15 about a 108-year-old veteran, written by The (Doylestown) Intelligencer and distributed by The Associated Press, gave an incorrect location for The National WWII Museum. It is in New Orleans, not Washington.

A corrected version of the story is below:

For 108-year-old WWII vet, help comes from unexpected place

Among the oldest living World War II veterans in the nation, Bill Mohr has lived a life dedicated to patriotic duty, hard work and caring for others

By MICHELE HADDON

The (Doylestown) Intelligencer

HATBORO, Pa. (AP) - In the kitchen of the little yellow bungalow he built in 1948, 108-year-old Bill Mohr sat with a smile on his face, recalling a time when his house was filled with the commotion of four energetic kids and the love he shared with his wife and soulmate, Josephine.

He spoke with great difficulty but laughed when he recalled the pet monkey they had when his kids were young. Excitedly pointing to a painted hutch in the corner, he said the monkey would stand atop the furniture, refusing to come down.

“This monkey would drive my wife crazy,” he said.

With his children grown and Josephine having died in October, he now holds on to the many memories made in his Hatboro home, which keep him smiling and laughing.

Among the oldest living World War II veterans in the nation, Mohr has lived a life dedicated to patriotic duty, hard work and caring for others. There remain about 620,000 surviving U.S. veterans of the war, of which roughly 36,250 reside in Pennsylvania, according to The National World War II Museum in New Orleans. According to the museum, 372 World War II vets die every day.

A sergeant with the Army’s 45th Infantry Division, Mohr took part in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, later marching into Germany to liberate the Dachau concentration camp, according to his daughter Joanne Hartshorne.

In 2004, a group of Jewish French men organized to honor the 45th Division by awarding them the highest honor given to any non-French man, giving each the title of Chevalier, or French Knight.

After the war, Mohr worked with his brother running a landscaping company before eventually going to work as a lathe operator at Pressure Product Industries in Warminster. He worked there until he was 93, when he injured his shoulder in a fall.

“At 93 years old, his hands were still steady enough to cut $10,000 pieces of titanium. He only stopped because he had a fall,” explained Hartshorne.

“He would go back to work if he could. He loved his work.”

Today, Mohr suffers from physical pain and decreasing mobility - the effects of a long life - and must now rely on others to take care of him.

According to Hartshorne, a Telford resident, her father’s medical expenses have become more than they can handle.

“We are at a crossroads with my dad. I’ve taken all my funds, everything I, as a teacher, make every month, all my pension. Everything goes to my father’s care, everything,” said Hartshorne.

She explained that even with his VA benefits, pension and Social Security, it wasn’t enough. And just as Hartshorne started feeling crushed by the overwhelming pressure, help appeared in an unexpected place.

Last month, Hartshorne said, her father had surgery to open up a blocked artery in his left leg. Following his surgery, they were told by the surgeon he needed a power lift chair that would allow him to elevate his leg above his heart.

“We went everywhere looking for these chairs, they are so expensive,” said Hartshorne. “I finally wound up at Mealey’s up in Warminster and I met this wonderful man named Phil.”

Phil Moran, of Buckingham, a part-time sales associate at Mealey’s, was moved by Hartshorne’s story about her father.

“In speaking with her, I found out there was a real economic hardship when it came to getting the chair,” said Moran, also a veteran having served in the Vietnam War.

That’s when Moran decided to contact his friends to collect money for the chair. In just 48 hours, he had raised the needed funds.

“He went to his veteran friends, and he himself contributed, and then they delivered the chair for my father for free,” said Hartshorne.

Moran explained that his own father and uncles all fought in World War II, serving in the South Pacific, and that he felt a connection to Mohr.

“It just resonated with me, with my history,” said Moran.

According to Hartshorne, her father requires around-the-clock home care. That expense, along with increasing medicals costs and general maintenance of the home, Hawthorne said, exceeds what she and her father can afford.

To address this concern, Moran and his friend Steve Young, also a veteran, started a GoFundMe page to help raise additional money to keep Mohr in his home and continue receiving the ongoing treatment he needs.

On their fundraising page, titled “WWII Vet, 108 years old,” Moran wrote:

“After the 108 years of giving, Bill now needs help. Although his mind and wit survive unscathed, his body is failing and he needs your helping hand.”

Moran said he feels lucky to have the opportunity to help Mohr and is committed to continue assisting him any way possible.

“We just need to be able to fund the best possible care for Bill,” said Moran.

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make this guy’s life as easy as I can make it.”

___

Online:

https://bit.ly/2fPffK2

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