Hamburg VFW members rally around WWII vet after flooding

'You gotta help people like that'

HAMBURG, Pa. - John Flickinger, a 94-year-old World War II veteran from Hamburg, has seen a lot, including decades teaching math and science at Hamburg Area High School and his time in the service.

"I started in World War II," said Flickinger. "I had three years in the service then."

But something he had yet to see, until recently, is flooding in his home.

"Things moved from here to there. They floated in just a little bit of water, but you could tell things were different, Flickinger said. "I'm not physically capable of that much at this stage of the game."

That's why Flickinger needed a hand.

"He asked for some help and here we are," said Craig Kleinsmith, with the Hamburg VFW.

The cavalry arrived in the form of the Hamburg VFW and other volunteers.

"These were great heroes way back when. You gotta help people like that," said Vincent Reilly with the Hamburg VFW.

The flood-damaged items in Flickinger's basement have been enough to fill three truckloads, but veterans who've volunteered their time said it's just another mission that needs to be accomplished.

"It's pretty musty and moldy and smelly and not a good place to hang out, but we are getting it cleaned out for him," said Kleinsmith.

Flickinger's reaction to the show of support?

"Let's just say that I was exceedingly happy to find out that somebody was going to come to help me," he said.

You know what service members say about work.

"Oh yeah. It's never done," Reilly said. "I got hurt and everything right, but you still gotta help someone out."

And the work continues for all those impacted by flooding.

"There's quite a few homes here in town that people are still cleaning up," explained Kleinsmith.

But by working together, the community will make it through.

"They know they are rendering a service to me by doing what they're doing, by cleaning up the cellar," said Flickinger.

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